Saturday, September 24, 2011

Burmese in Malaysia Hold Protest Against the Irrawaddy's Myitsone Dam

Kuala Lumpur: Nearly one hundred Burmese held a demonstration on Thursday against the dam at Myitsone, the confluence of the Irrawaddy River, in front of the Burmese embassy in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

Ko Myo Khine, secretary of the Arakan League for Democracy (Malaysia), told Narinjara that they held the protest against the damming of the Irrawaddy because it will have negative impacts on the environment and wildlife along the river.

"The Irrawaddy River is flowing like a life-blood in from north to south through Burma. Damming the river to electric power to China will badly affect our country with environmental damage, climate change, and will trouble the people whose lives depend on the river. The electricity [the Burmese regime and China] are planning to produce by damming the river is just for selling to China and will not be for the people of Burma as well. That is why we have to stage protests against the damming of the river by the Burmese regime," said Ko Myo Khine.

He said the demonstration was organized in collaboration by the National League for Democracy, the Arakan League for Democracy, the Kachin National Union, and the Zomi National Congress, which are based in Malaysia and working for the cause of democracy in Burma.

"We have also demanded the Burmese regime free the political prisoners, take immediate steps to hold inclusive peace talks for genuine democratic reform and to prove their words with actions for the affairs of Burma besides demanding a stop to the dam project," he said.

When asked if the Burmese would stop their dam project just because of demonstrations, he said, "The present U Thein Sein regime says they area walking on the path of democracy, so I hope they would listen to the voice of the people and would regard the desire of the people if they are a real democratic regime."

He added that they had to put their statement demanding a stop to Irrawaddy's Myitsone Dam in the mailbox of the Burmese embassy, because no official from the embassy came out to meet them. They have also distributed pamphlets and launched a signature campaign against the dam among the Burmese living in Malaysia.

The Irrawaddy River, the most significant river in Burma, is 1,348 miles long and flows through Kachin State, Sagaing Division, Mandalay Division, Rangoon Division, and Irrawaddy Division.
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