Update on the Belo Monte Dam Protest

Statement from partners on #OCCUPYBELOMONTEDAM

Amazon Watch

For more information, contact:

Rania Batrice at +1.510.394.2041 or rania@amazonwatch.org


(Direct statement by participating groups, as translated)

Altamira, Brazil – Yesterday the Belo Monte Dam construction site was occupied by 400 indigenous people, fishermen and riverine community members who oppose the project due to its severe environmental impacts and human rights violations. The occupation was a collective decision made by 700 representatives from local communities who attended a seminar against the Belo Monte Dam held this week in Altamira, and it proved an important step forward in the continuing struggle to halt the project.

Protesters notified the Brazilian government about the occupation through letters and direct contact. The groups said in a statement: "In the face of the Brazilian government's intransigence to dialogue and continuing disrespect, we occupied the Belo Monte construction site and blocked the Trans-Amazon highway. We demand a definitive cancellation of the Belo Monte Dam."

After 15 hours protesters disbursed from the construction site with the arrival of two justice officials and three lawyers from Norte Energia (the dam-building consortium), who carried an injunction in favor of the consortium. Upon informing the protesters about the judicial order, justice officials stressed that "Shock Troops" were surrounding the area, ready to act.

The unprecedented occupation of the Belo Monte construction site was a direct result of an autonomous and sovereign decision by indigenous people and fishermen from the Xingu River basin and is considered the landmark of a new alliance in the struggle against the Belo Monte Dam. The mutual recognition and partnerships sealed this week among the segments that will suffer the most with the destruction of the Xingu River marks a new, stronger level of the fight against Belo Monte. Such unprecedented partnership between indigenous people and fishermen shows that the people from Xingu are united to defend the river, nature and their traditional way of life.

Our resistance against this destructive project called Belo Monte remains unshakable. The occupation has sent a clear message to President Dilma Rousseff's administration that the fight for the Xingu is more alive than ever. If the Brazilian government continues to insist on violating our rights, other resistance actions shall come.

Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira – COIAB
Comissão Pastoral da Terra – CPT
Conselho Indigenista Missionário – CIMI
Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre – MXVPS

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