Uruguay police clash with Argentine eco-activists

Uruguayan police clashed with Argentine environmentalists who were on a boat to protest a Finnish paper mill they fear will spew pollution into a border river Oct. 27. Police boarded one of 20 boats in a protest flotilla on the Rio Uruguay in front of the paper mill owned by Finnish company Botnia which is due to open soon. “We were conducting a peaceful protest near the Uruguayan coast when three Uruguyan police boats surrounded us and wanted to detain us,” protester Gustavo Zapata, told reporters. Zapata claimed that he was struck by one of the officers, who tried to detain him. Another activist said an officer and a protester fell in the river. Argentine environmentalists have maintained a human blockade on one border bridge for nearly a year in protest over the mill, which has been a source of tension between the two countries’ governments. Argentina has asked the International Court of Justice to halt the project on the grounds that it violates a bilateral agreement on water quality. (AFP, Oct. 27)

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