Thousands rally in Mongolia over foreign mining concessions

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP) — A rare public protest in Mongolia's capital has drawn thousands of demonstrators opposed to foreign mining concessions.

More than 2,000 demonstrators gathered Wednesday morning in Ulan Bator's Freedom Square demanding that parliament be dissolved and a new government formed in response to an economic crisis battering the vast, landlocked country.

Protesters say the mineral wealth that accounts for 94 percent of the nation's exports has been exploited by foreign firms with few benefits going to Mongolia's people, one-third of whom live in poverty.

New parliamentary elections are scheduled for June, but critics say the rules will ensure re-election for lawmakers with mining interests in both the ruling and opposition parties.