Some 150 farmers blocked the access road to one of the construction sites for the giant Belo Monte dam in Vitória do Xingu municipality in the northern Brazilian state of Pará on Aug. 20 to demand access to electricity. The farmers said Norte Energia S.A., the consortium in charge of the dam, was running electric lines past their homes for the construction but wasn’t giving them access to the power. Some 300 families live in the area without access to electricity, according to Iury Paulino, a member of the Movement of Those Harmed by Dams (MAB). The residents were also demanding the construction of a bridge near the community of Volta Grande do Xingu.
According to Paulino, this is the third time the farmers have held a protest because of the failure of Norte Energia officials to meet with them. The company says it plans to provide the residents with electricity but it needs the cooperation of the state power authority. Norte Energia claimed that the protest only held up some buses carrying workers and didn’t seriously delay construction on the dam. Protests by local residents, by the region’s indigenous groups and by construction workers have repeatedly interrupted the $13 billion project since it began in March 2012. (O Globo, Brazil, Aug. 20; Adital, Brazil, Aug. 21)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, August 25.