Brazil: indigenous protesters seize hydro-electric plant

Brazilian indigenous rainforest dwellers are occupying the site of the Dardanelos hydroelectric plant on the Aripuana River in Mato Grosso state, demanding that they be compensated for the damage caused to their lands by the dam, and an end to further destructive hydro development in the region. Around 300 Indians from eleven tribes, including about 50 from the Enawene Nawe people, arrived July 25 at the dam site, and more are continuing to join the occupation. Some 100 construction workers were initially held hostage, but have since been allowed to leave, with several company officials taking their place. According to reports, nobody has been injured. The indigenous protesters say the dam is being built on a sacred burial ground. Five hydroelectric dams are already under construction in the region, with some 70 more planned.

The Brazilian Amazon has seen many such protests in recent months, including at the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River and the TucuruĂ­ dam on the Tocantins River.

See our last posts on Brazil, the struggle for the Amazon and regional struggles for control of water.

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