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Belo Monte Protests Continue in Brazil Despite Arrest Threats and Continued Construction – ICTMN.com

For more than two weeks indigenous activists and allies have shut down construction of part of the controversial Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, demanding an end to the project or for the compensation promised to the affected communities.

Brazilian government officials and representatives of the project builders Norte Energia are slated to meet with protestors on July 9 but until then the activists have stated that they intend to stay on the site.

Local leaders such as Sheyla Juruna of the Juruna indigenous community affected by the dam asserted one of the positions at a press event last week.

“The time is now! The Brazilian government is killing the Xingu River and destroying the lives of Indigenous Peoples. We need to send a message that we have not been silenced and that this is our territory. We vow to take action in our own way to stop the Belo Monte Dam. We will defend our river until the end!”

In another recent interview, leaders such as Bebok Xirin of the Xirin Tribe focused on what had been promised to the community by the government and the company but had not materialized.

“We would not be here today if the company and the government would have done what they promised to us,” Xirin said. “In my community nothing has been done. There is no quality health post, no school, they have not built a road for us, and my road is the river and that is going to be dried up.”

This latest action grew out of the Xingu +23 conference in Altamira, Brazil, a meeting of 300 indigenous activists that took place at the same time as the UN’s Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro. Activists coined the name Xingu+23 in honor of the first time that communities were able to halt the construction of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam in 1989, created by the historic First Gathering of Indigenous People of the Xingu.

Xingu+23 participants came together on June 13 and four days later, activists from the Xirin, Juruna, Parakana and Araras communities and allies climbed on top of an earthen dam built to block the flow of the Xingu River on the Pimentel site and dug out a channel to allow the river to flow again into the area.

Since then the activists have danced, sang, and held various press events, attracting media from across the world.

While various officials have tried to have the protestors evicted, and in a separate legal action they want police to arrest several of the activists, accusing them of trashing offices of the construction consortium, none of the close to 200 people have been removed nor have the activists budged from the site.

Activists from Amazon Watch, one of at least 5 NGO’s supporting the protest, stated that the builders’ judicial request to have the activists removed by force by police was rejected by a federal judge over the weekend of June 23. The charges listed in the separate criminal complaint against some of the protestors has motivated a large team of Brazilian and international lawyers to take this part of the struggle to an international forum.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Belo Monte Protests Continue in Brazil Despite Arrest Threats and Continued Construction – ICTMN.com.

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