Hundreds join march to Myitsone

Hundreds of activists set off from Rangoon by foot on Sunday on a march to Myitsone, the source of the Irrawaddy River, to call for the complete shutdown of a China-backed hydroelectric mega-dam project at the site.

Participants in the 1,225-km (765-mile) march, which is expected to take two months, set off from the east gate of Shwedagon Pagoda on Sunday morning.

The project, backed by China Power Investment (CPI), was suspended by President Thein Sein’s government in 2011, a decision, he said, that could not be overturned during his tenure as president which ends in 2015.

However, according to local NGO groups in Kachin State, CPI has made moves to court residents and officials in a bid to restart the project, and has been carrying out its own PR campaign to promote the economic value of the 3,600MW dam, something the NGOs say does not reflect either local or national public opinion.

Speaking to DVB on Monday, marcher Myo Thiha Tun of Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS) said they stopped the first night in Tike Gyi, Rangoon Division.

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