Malaysians Protest Anew Lynas Rare Earths Plant; Aussie Environmental Protester Among Those Arrested

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 24, 2014 8:49 AM EST

About 1,000 protesters blocked the entrance of the Lynas Advanced Materials facility in Gebeng, Kuantan, on Sunday as Malaysians push anew for the closure of the facility.

The Kuantan police arrested 16 demonstrators, 14 men and two women, who were detained for illegal assembly and rioting, reports Bernama.

Among those arrested is Natalie Lowrey, an Australian environmental protester. She was arrested 4 pm on Sunday and held in the Kuantan Police Station overnight, according to Tully McIntyre, an Australian anti-mines campaigner.

"She's a bit unsure of the charges that she'll be facing today in court. I seems one of the police, the head of police here in Kuantan, has stated that she may just be charged with breaching her visa, but there is talk that she could face charges in the Malaysia Riot Act," McIntyre said.

She said the massive opposition against the plant continues even if the Australian company-owned Lynas plant started to operate in January 2013 after months of delay due to opposition from Malaysians and pro-environment groups over fears of radioactive contamination.

In September, Lynas's two-year operating licence is due for renewal.

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