- Title: BRAZIL: Hundreds protest against construction of massive Amazon dam
- Date: 13th April 2010
- Summary: BRASILIA, BRAZIL (APRIL 12, 2010) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF MARCH AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MASSIVE BELO MONTE HYDROELECTRIC DAM IN THE AMAZON DEMONSTRATOR IN MARCH CLOSE OF SIGN READING: "LULA GOVERNMENT: AMAZON'S TERROR" CLOSE OF INDIAN IN MARCH VARIOUS OF MARCH IN FRONT OF BRAZILIAN CONGRESS CLOSE OF INDIAN IN MARCH MARCH PASSING IN FRONT OF BRAZIL'S MINISTRY BUILDINGS DEMONSTRATORS MARCHING IN FRONT OF THE ENERGY MINISTRY EXTERIOR OF ENERGY MINISTRY DEMONSTRATORS USING LOUDSPEAKERS IN PROTEST SAYING: "EITHER THEY STOP BELO MONTE OR WE'LL STOP BRAZIL" INDIAN ON TOP OF CAR EQUIPPED WITH AMPLIFIERS CLOSE OF INDIAN (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) COORDINATOR OF BRAZIL'S AMAZON INDIAN ORGANIZATIONS, SONIA GUAJAJARA, SAYING "The main objective of this protest is to block the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam." CLOSE OF INDIAN IN PROTEST (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) COORDINATOR OF THE FREE XINGU MOVEMENT, ANTONIA MELO, SAYING "This project (Belo Monte) is economically, socially and environmentally unfeasible. Therefore, we are asking for it to be cancelled." TNC (THE NATURE CONSERVANCY) ORGANIZATION REPRESENTATIVE, ANA CRISTINA BARROS IN HER OFFICE CLOSE OF BARROS TYPING CLOSE OF BARROS' FACE (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TNC REPRESENTATIVE, ANA CRISTINA BARROS, SAYING "You see extreme standpoints of this sort: 'we don't want Belo Monte' or 'we only want Belo Monte'. Certainly the best path for the country's development is somewhere in the middle, in well-done and well distributed technical studies which are understood by the population and by other groups of interest involved in a more profound debate." GENERAL VIEW OF MARCH
- Embargoed: 30th April 2010 01:48
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Domestic Politics,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVA5QQK6VJY8OX4V9DVFQRR9A6SY
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Hundreds of Indians and activists marched in front of Brazil's energy ministry on Monday (April 12) to protest against the construction of a massive dam in the heart of the Amazon forest.
Concern over the impact of the $11.2 billion dollar Belo Monte project on the environment and native Indians has mounted rapidly in the past months.
But the government says the dam on the Xingu River in the northern state of Para will help Brazil cope with soaring demand for clean electricity.
Demonstrators held posters and used loudspeakers to rally against the 11,000 megawatt plant which will flood 97 square miles (500 sq km) of land and displace thousands of homes in the area.
Environmental groups say the Belo Monte project, which will also create a waterway to transport agricultural commodities grown in the Amazon, would damage the sensitive ecosystem and threaten some fish species.
Sonia Guajajara, coordinator of Brazil's Organizations for Amazon Indians, said the dam's construction had to be stopped.
"The main objective of this protest is to block the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam," she said, during the march.
U.S. film director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver were also expected to join the march later in the afternoon.
Coordinator of the Free Xingu project, Antonia Melo, said Belo Monte was unreasonable in several aspects.
"This project (Belo Monte) is economically, socially and environmentally unfeasible. Therefore, we are asking for it to be cancelled," she said.
The region's residents fear their source of fish and water is endangered and say construction and new roads would draw more settlers and farmers, accelerating deforestation.
Ana Cristina Barros, representative of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) organization in Brasilia, said Brazil needed to invest in clean energy sources, but more detailed environmental studies were necessary.
"You see extreme standpoints of this sort: 'we don't want Belo Monte' or 'we only want Belo Monte'. Certainly the best path for the country's development is somewhere in the middle, in well-done and well distributed technical studies which are understood by the population and by other groups of interest involved in a more profound debate," she said, in her office.
Last week Brazil's government said it would finance Belo Monte by itself if no private firms bid for the project.
Two major local infrastructure companies said they would not take part in bidding for its construction because it was not financially viable under the conditions of the auction.
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