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Regardless of the minus 21 degrees cold, a group of mostly young people gathered in Sukhbaatar Square in Ulanbator, Mongolia to protest the corruption in the coal sector and high inflation rate. Demanding the prosecution of the officials involved in corruption and the dissolution of the parliament, the demonstrators attempted to storm the Government Palace. The police intervened in the demonstrators.

The U.S. Embassy in Ulan Bator urged U.S. government personnel and citizens to avoid protests and large crowds. It’s also stated that two days ago, hundreds gathered in Sukhbaatar Square to marched to the Ikh Tenger Palace, the official residence of the president and prime minister, but was blocked by the police.

Besides the 15.2 percent inflation rate, arousing discomfort in society, the rumors about billions of dollars of corruption in the coal industry ignited the protests. Mongolian authorities announced in mid-November that over 30 officials were investigated for the alleged corruption. Among those under investigation is the CEO of the state-owned coal company, Erdenes Tavşan Tolgoi. It was alleged that Mongolian authorities were secretly selling coal to China. Mongolian parliamentarian Dorjhand Togmid revealed at a press conference last month that a total of 6.4 million tons of coal has been registered in Chinese customs records since 2013, but it has not been registered in Mongolian customs.

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