June 29, 2010: No entry: Trans-Amazonian highway blockaded in Brazil to protest against Belo Monte dam
Nearly 400 activists of the Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB) blockaded the Trans-Amazonian highway to protest against the construction of Belo Monte dam on Xingu river, which is being promoted by Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva's administration.
Indigenous and fisher folk participated in the demonstration. They question the process that granted the licenses for the construction of the plants and report the project has been carried out to favor the interests of big economic groups.
"We know that all the technical reports confirm the dam is unviable", said the coordinators of the protests. They warned about the government's intention to "transform natural goods in commodities".
The mobilizations took place as part of President Lula's visit to Altamira, a city of nearly 100,000 residents in the northern state of Para, which is the biggest town on Xingu river.
The protests continued outside the Bandeirao stadium, where the President participated in an act to announce the Trans-Amazonian highway will be paved, as part of a program called "Light for all" and the Belo Monte initiative.
"The demonstration aimed to send a message to President Lula and I think we succeeded in showing him that we are not happy with the building of Belo Monte", said Michel Alves of MAB, Adital reported.
Meanwhile, an IPS report says the works for the construction of the hydroelectric dam would employ over 18,000 workers in the next five years and that they would create 80,000 indirect jobs, it would imply paving the Trans-Amazonian highway, breaking the "relative isolation of Xingu".
"With the pavement of the highway, Altamira will be integrated to the rest of the country and it will probably develop industrial fishing activities in Xingu, thus affecting the local supply and fish stocks in the river and its affluents", reports IPS.
The video below includes MAB's march against Belo Monte Dam in April: