Mar 24th, 2013
From International Rivers:
Altamira, Brazil – Today [Thursday, March 21] some 150 protestors from four indigenous groups and allied riverbank communities occupied a major work camp and halted construction of the controversial Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon. The occupation paralyzed the project’s strategic Pimental construction site, where an earthen cofferdam traversing the Xingu River was recently completed. This is the third indigenous protest in less than a year that has halted dam construction as tensions have mounted over human rights violations, environmental impacts, devastated livelihoods and false promises made by the government-led dam consortium Norte Energia.
The occupation began at 4 am as a group of Juruna, Xipaia, Kuruaia, and Canela protestors from the Jericoá indigenous community, together with representatives of local riverbank populations, blocked an access road to the Pimental construction camp. Protestors pushed forward to occupy the camp, rejecting attempts by agents of Brazil’s National Security Force to impede their progress by demanding that they first negotiate with the company. Upon entering the camp, the group asked workers on site to leave their installations. According to protestors the workers were helpful and supported the occupation, claiming that they are working under inhumane conditions without recourse.