Asia

Mongolians protest over alleged theft of government funds

  • Mongolians hold up banners which read: "Oyu-Tolgoi mine and the Noyon Mountain are in offshore account." and "Let's guarantee security of our nation" during a protest in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Hundreds of Mongolians have protested in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the alleged theft of government funds deposited in offshore accounts. (AP Photo/Ganbat Namjilsangarav)

    Mongolians hold up banners which read: "Oyu-Tolgoi mine and the Noyon Mountain are in offshore account." and "Let's guarantee security of our nation" during a protest in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Hundreds of Mongolians have protested in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the alleged theft of government funds deposited in offshore accounts. (AP Photo/Ganbat Namjilsangarav)  (The Associated Press)

  • A child walks past Mongolians holding up banners, one of which reads "Arkhangai - We support fight against offshore account holders for the sake of our future, children" during a protest in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Hundreds of Mongolians have protested in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the alleged theft of government funds deposited in offshore accounts. (AP Photo/Ganbat Namjilsangarav)

    A child walks past Mongolians holding up banners, one of which reads "Arkhangai - We support fight against offshore account holders for the sake of our future, children" during a protest in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Hundreds of Mongolians have protested in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the alleged theft of government funds deposited in offshore accounts. (AP Photo/Ganbat Namjilsangarav)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of Mongolians have protested in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the alleged theft of government funds deposited in offshore accounts.

Opposition politicians and civic society activities demanded the return of what some say is $17 billion in funds plundered by ruling party politicians and their influential friends.

They also called on Parliament to establish a special investigation and pass a law prohibiting public officials, politicians and their family members from holding offshore accounts.

Mongolia is in the midst of an economic crisis caused partly by a decline in prices for mineral exports.

More than 30 percent of the 3 million people in the landlocked country live in poverty, and many people are angry over an austerity plan that has hit the poor hardest.