About 200 protesters occupied the main construction site for the giant Belo Monte dam, in Vitória do Xingu municipality in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, on May 2 to demand the immediate suspension of work on the project until the government has respected the indigenous communities’ right to prior consultation on the project. The occupiers—who included members of the Munduruku, Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã and Arara indigenous groups as well as fishing people and other residents in the area that will be affected by the dam—were also protesting the presence of soldiers and military vehicles in the region. They said they would maintain the occupation and block construction “until the federal government responds to the demands we’ve presented.”
The $13 billion dam, expected to be the world’s third largest, will flood 516 square kilometers, according to opponents, and it has been the target of repeated protests since construction began in March 2012. The most recent was an occupation of another of the four construction sites by 100 or more indigenous people and other residents on Mar. 21 of this year [see Update #1169].