Protesters in Mongolia attempt to storm state palace

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Thousands gathered to demand motion over the economic system and surging inflation amid a simmering corruption scandal.

Thousands of individuals have braved freezing temperatures in Mongolia’s capital to protest in opposition to alleged corruption within the nation’s coal trade and hovering inflation, with some later making an attempt to storm authorities home.

Protesters, lots of them younger folks, rallied in Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar Square in -21C (-6F) temperatures on Monday, demanding “justice” in opposition to corrupt officers and calling for the nation’s parliament to be dismissed.

“Help us our country is collapsing,” learn one placard. Some herders additionally travelled to the town to participate within the rallies.

Protesters are pissed off with the nation’s ailing economic system, with inflation hovering to 15.2 p.c within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and closed borders affecting commerce with neighbouring China.

People are “suffering incredibly economically,” Jana Zilkova, nation director for the help group Caritas Czech Republic in Ulaanbaatar, instructed Al Jazeera.

Whistleblower claims {that a} group of legislators with ties to the coal trade had stolen billions of {dollars} have added to the discontent.

“People are upset and angry over this case because they were promised the wealth of the country would be shared with them,” Zilkova added.

The police tried to interrupt up the demonstration at 9pm native time (13:00 GMT) however some protesters tried to pressure their method into the federal government constructing, pulling down obstacles and breaking home windows, in keeping with native media stories. Police intervened and most protesters had left the sq. a few hours later.

Last month, Mongolia’s anti-corruption authority introduced that greater than 30 officers — together with the chief government of the state-owned coal mining firm Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi — have been beneath investigation for embezzlement.

The agency controls the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi deposits, which include 7.5 billion tonnes of coking coal — an important ingredient within the steelmaking course of and a key element of Mongolia’s state price range income. It is but to touch upon the allegations.

The implicated legislators are alleged to have leveraged their possession of coal mines and firms that transport coal throughout the border into China to make unlawful income.

Mongolia sends 86 p.c of its exports to China, with coal accounting for greater than half the full. 1 / 4 of the nation’s gross home product (GDP) comes from mining.

Monday’s rally got here a day after a number of hundred protesters gathered within the capital, in keeping with the US embassy in Ulaanbaatar.

Protesters tried to march on Ikh Tenger, the official residence of the President and Prime Minister, “where they were stopped by a police barricade,” the embassy stated.

Khurelsukh Ukhnaa was elected president in June final yr, months after he had been pressured to resign as prime minister amid public outrage over the remedy of a COVID-19 affected person and her new child child.

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