July 02, 2008

State of emergency

In Mongolia:

ULAN BATOR (Reuters) - Mongolian President Nambariin Enkhbayar has declared a state of emergency for four days, after Mongolians alleging election fraud clashed with police and set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party, state television said on Wednesday.

The chaos threatens to further delay deals that could unlock vast reserves of coal, uranium and other resources beneath the country's vast steppes and deserts, and are seen as key to lifting the isolated Central Asian state out of poverty.

"The president has declared a state of emergency according to the constitution ... from 11:30 p.m. on July 1 for a period of four days," television said.

The state of emergency means protests are banned and authorises security forces to break up protests using force. Central areas have been put under curfew from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. and alcohol sales are banned over the period.

A few years ago, I met with a delegation of Mongolian journalists -- they talked about the corruption, coercion, and general lack of accountability of the government. It appears things have worsened. And does anyone think the rank-and-file Mongol will benefit from the country's mineral wealth?

Posted by Ideofact at July 2, 2008 12:21 AM