Thousands to March for Termination of Burma’s Myitsone Dam

Thousands to March for Termination of Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam

Burmese living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shout slogans at a protest against the Myitsone hydropower dam in 2011, shortly before the project was halted by President Thein Sein. (Photo: Reuters)

RANGOON — Thousands of protesters are expected to join a march from Rangoon to the site of the proposed Myitsone dam in Kachin State, calling for the Burma government to permanently cancel the project.

The highly controversial Chinese-backed hydropower development was in 2011 suspended by President Thein Sein, who pledged that work would not resume during his time in office. But with his administration coming to an end next year, and with pressure from China to resume the widely opposed project, activists want it scrapped completely.

“We have seen moves by Chinese investors to restart the project, so we arrange a public march at this time,” said Ye Htut Khaung, spokesperson of the League of Former Political Prisoners, the group organizing the march. The state-owned developer, China Power Investment, has publicly called for the project—from which the vast majority of power produced will go the China—to be resumed.

The march will leave from Rangoon on Sunday and conclude at the dam site in Tan Phae village, Kachin State—the confluence of the Maykha and Malikha rivers—said Ye Htut Khaung.

He said former political prisoners, activists from civil society organizations and locals along the way would join the march. It is expected to take about 60 days to walk the 1,500 mile journey, a trip that would take three days by car.

“This will be the biggest march against the Myitsone dam,” he said, adding that around 5,000 people in total would join some part of the march.

The marchers will stop at towns and villages along the Irrawaddy River and give public talks to raise public awareness about the environmental and social impacts that the dam would cause, he said.

Maung Maung Oo, a member of the Mandalay-based environmental group Green Activities, told to The Irrawaddy that whether the dam is constructed or not, environmental damage to areas along the river had already begun. He cited recent deforestation, erosion of the riverbed and reduced fish stocks due to industrial development on the river.

“Even though the dam is still not there, the destruction of the river is terrible. If there’s a dam, the situation would be a lot worse than now, because the dam would reduce the flow of the water,” he said.

“The Myitsone project must be totally stopped. If the project resumes, the environment in the Myitsone area and along the Irrawaddy River would be at risk” said U Ohn, vice president of the Rangoon-based Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association.

3 Responses to Thousands to March for Termination of Burma’s Myitsone Dam

  1. Yes! May God bless you all. China must come to its own sense by now that people of Myanmar do not want Myitsone Dam. If China wants to build dams, it should start along the Great Wall and see how Chinese people would react. If destroying Great Wall is acceptable to Chinese public, then Myitsone Dam may be possible!

  2. Chinese faces are not welcomed yet. Sponsor of dictators around the world needs to repent first before it enters into democratic societies. If China is coming back fr Myitsone Dam, USDP will be a sore loser in 2015 Election.

  3. No Dam should be built on Myitsone and Irrawaddy River. Irrawaddy River is most important River in Burmese history. All Burmese ethnics know how Irrawaddy River was important to Burmese civilization from Pyu era to current Burma except greedy idiot stupid Than Shwe. I don’t know why idiot former dictator Than Shwe had allowed building Dams on Myitsone and Irrawaddy River.
    How much Than Shwe and his family got bribe money from Chinese Companyv and free shares from Asia World Company?
    I wish we can investigate into Myitsone Dam and other Dam projects in future if President U Thein Sein failed to do so.
    Myitsone Dam never should be built regardless of any impact on environment issue.
    Chinese Government and Chinese Company should not destroy Burmese natural environment and Burmese peoples should not let scarify for short term benefit for its peoples.

    If Chinese Company forced Government to allow restart Myitsone Dam project and then other Chinese investments will be jeopardized in future. Chinese Government should think about it.
    Also the contract was signed under former military dictatorship regime and it was damn to be illegal because without doubt there was bribery involved in singing contract. Chinese side should consider agree to cancel Myitsone Dam project contract as mutual interest and for goodwill gesture between Chinese Companies and Burmese peoples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.