(Reuters) - Amazon Indians on Friday refused to end their occupation of a building site that has partially paralyzed work on the world's third largest hydroelectric dam for two days.

Some 200 people from various indigenous groups occupied one of three construction sites of the controversial Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River on Thursday, halting work by 3,000 of the 22,000 workers on the project.

They are demanding that the Brazilian government hold prior consultations with indigenous peoples before building dams that affect their lands and livelihoods, an issue that has sparked years of protests against the Belo Monte dam.

The latest protest includes 100 Munduruku Indians from the Tapajos river, the only major river in the Amazon basin with no dams but where the government plans to build a dozen to meet Brazil's rapidly rising electricity consumption.

The government sent police and soldiers to the Tapajos River earlier this year to guard geologists and biologists whose work surveying the area for a dam was opposed by the Munduruku.

"We indigenous peoples are uniting in the fight against the hydroelectric dams because our problem over there is the same as theirs here," a leader of the group, Valdemir Munduruku, said by telephone from Belo Monte.

"We are united by the disrespect of the government, the lack of consultations, the destruction of our lands," he said.

Under Brazil's constitution, the government must hold public hearings with people affected by its projects and it maintains that consultations were held before Belo Monte was begun.

President Dilma Rousseff's government offered to send one of her ministers, Gilberto Carvalho, to speak to them on Monday as long as they met in the local town of Altamira, Munduruku said, but the Indians are not budging from the occupied site.

He said members of the local Juruna and Arara indigenous peoples would join their protest on Saturday.

The Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River has a maximum designed capacity of 11,233 megawatts, equivalent to about 10 percent of Brazil's current generating capacity.

The dam, which will cost nearly $14 billion, would be the third biggest in the world, after China's Three Gorges facility and the Itaipu dam on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

The government considers the dam essential for Brazil to meet the power needs of an expanding economy and for limiting the need for fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal.

A spokesman for the consortium building Belo Monte, which includes Brazil's largest construction firms, said the number of protests have increased this year at the dam.

But he said the brief disruptions have not upset work plans and the first of Belo Monte's 24 turbines is still scheduled to start up in February 2015 with the rest following through 2019.

Responses to "Amazon Indians occupy controversial dam to demand a say (Photos)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I feel for your people!!! When the government steps in they ruin peoples lives often and don't realize these are a part of our history and once gone can never be returned!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fuck that government. Don't let what happened in North America happen in South America.

  3. Unknown says:

    and the slaughter of the natives continues... it won't stop till they have totally destroyed all that's left of indigenous peoples and their culture... and for what? FUCKING GREED! the bastards!

  4. Anonymous says:

    looks like the movie avatar HAHAHA.

  5. Unknown says:

    So what can the readers of this article do??
    Please advise!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    We can sit here making all sorts of good noises but only letters to that govt. will show our support for the the local tribes. My heart is with them and i will send my message.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You may try writing to the united nations
    Human rights commission?

  8. Anonymous says:

    You may try writing to the united nations as well?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Its their Land they should have a say in it, since their coming right on it without permission from them the Native Indians. No, one should have authority over Native Land but Natives, and they should be treated with Respect, about their Land, and what they want to do with it. Stop letting out siders plan and tell them what to do with their Country. Because Corporate Freaks are only after GREED!


  10. Anonymous says:

    I am going to make a suggestion that someone who is good with their words write up a template letter to adjoin a petition. So people can then sign it and also forward on an email with the template to the appropriate member of government in their country.
    I have seen it done on sites such as and others which had a massive impact on other world issues. If enough phone calls are made regarding a certain subject it is flagged and has to be noted, same with letters being sent.
    I really hope something can be done. Its utterly ridiculous that even in this day and age the indigenous tribes of our world are still being disregarded.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Before you decide to write to the united nations
    Try using Google? Or Bing?
    maybe yahoo,?
    To look up the united nations
    Charter on religious freedom,
    Or the right to self determination?
    peace and dignity to you people

  12. Anonymous says:

    Eunogh of this, already wealthy and rich, look at short time profit, for themselves. They do not care about the people living on this land. Truly the fight must go on, but i am sorry to say, that Brazil and others, who want the construction of the dam, to continu will proberbly win this battle to. All people should stand beside/behind them, in their claims to talk, with the goverment.
    I am from Sweden, and I WILL STAND,BEHIND THEM! Let them live in peace and harmoni on their own land, do not destroy their chanses to survival.

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