Villagers in Kachin State have expressed disappointment about protesters who walked about 750 miles (1,200 kilometres) from Yangon to the site of the Myitsone Dam in support of a demand that work on the controversial project be halted.

The marchers left Yangon on March 23 but the group split. A group of 38 led by U Ye Htut Khuang arrived at the Myitsone Dam site on May 7 and a second group of 41 protesters, led by U Thiha and U Nanda, reached its destination on May 17.

“One group said they would establish a protest camp at Myitsone and nearby Aung Myay Thar village and the other said they would begin a hunger strike on May 18 but they did not do as they promised,” said Aung Myay Thar resident, Daw Ja Khaw.

“They have disappointed the local people and from now on we will not trust the walking protesters,” she said.

On September 30, 2011, President U Thein Sein suspended work on the dam for his term in office following escalating opposition to the project from a broad cross section of society.

The former military government signed an agreement with China’s state-backed China Power Investment to build the dam in 2006.

U Chan Aye, a leader of the march – which was organised by the Former Political Prisoners’ Society – said the second group had met China Power Investment officials at the dam site on May 17 and had seen for itself that all work on the project had been suspended.