Eye on the Amazon

Marching on Washington to Stop the Belo Monte Dam!

Belo Monte Protest in DC

In solidarity with Brazilians taking a stand against the Belo Monte Dam, Amazon Watch organized a protest in Washington, DC today. The action began at Washington Circle where dozens of protesters gathered, practiced chants, and prepared for the march. Protesters holding green and yellow signs in Portuguese and English with statements such as "Brazil: Respect Indigenous Rights, Stop Belo Monte" marched through the streets of Georgetown to the Brazilian Embassy. A large banner colorfully displaying "Pare Belo Monte" ("Stop Belo Monte") led the protest. Pedestrians and drivers alike heard protesters chanting "Save the Amazon, save Xingu, Dilma, Dilma, shame on you!" and "Join the fight, protect human rights!"

At the Brazilian Embassy, protesters continued to chant and then performed a theatrical simulation of what would happen if the Belo Monte Dam was to be built. As the model dam was constructed, one end of the river shriveled and dried up as the other side expanded and flooded a person who represented the city of Altamira. The simulation ended with the dam crashing down and the river returning to a natural flow. After this, Marisa Silveira, former Amazon Watch intern and a Brazilian spokesperson at the protest, along with other Amazon Watch representatives, went into the Brazilian Embassy to deliver the petition against the Belo Monte Dam to Eduardo Lessa, Secretary of the Environmental Desk. At least five Brazilian media organizations covered the event, including major outlet Globo TV, and stories of the event are already reaching the Brazilian public.

Today's protest is an act of international solidarity with the growing Brazilian movement to stop the imminent construction of the Belo Monte Dam. Coming a day after two thousand people marched on downtown São Paulo, in Brazil's largest anti Belo Monte demonstration to date, the Amazon Watch protest is a sign of things to come: the government of President Dilma cannot attempt to crush dissent, human rights, and environmental sanity without provoking an enormous outcry in Brazil and among the international community.

Photo Credit: Shelley Alingas

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