|ALL TO ACTION:
Support Indigenous Occupation of the Belo Monte Dam Site Now Entering Day 7
“I am very worried about the Belo Monte dam. I told the Brazilian environment minister not to build Belo Monte, because we indigenous who live on the edge of the Xingu River have our population growing. We need space. We need land.” – Chief Raoni
I wanted to share this urgent update about the escalating resistance to the destructive Belo Monte dam complex in the Brazilian Amazon. Please take a moment to read this update and support the indigenous and riverbank communities of the Xingu!
In the final days of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, several hundred members of the Xikrin, Juruna and Arara indigenous peoples affected by the Belo Monte Dam began an indigenous-led occupation of the construction site on Pimental Island in the Xingu River. The occupation – now in its 7th day – is gaining strength as more indigenous inhabitants come to join the blockade. Indigenous leaders have set up a peaceful encampment in the middle of the earthen coffer dam, confiscated keys to various trucks and earth moving equipment and stopped all construction works in the area.
This protest is specifically calling attention to the failure on the part of the dam-building consortium to address the grave impacts to the lives and livelihoods of the region’s indigenous inhabitants. These impacts are already being felt just from the early stages of dam construction and stem from the diversion of the majority of the flow of the Xingu River away from the 62-mile stretch known as the Big Bend.
On Monday, a local judge rejected an eviction order request from NESA (the dam building consortium) for the police to forcibly remove the occupiers.Tomorrow, officials from the Brazilian government agency FUNAI and Electronorte (State-owned power company and the main stakeholder in the dam) are scheduled to travel to the occupation to dialogue with the communities.
Meanwhile, authorities have begun a crackdown on leading members of the Movimento Xingu Vivo, the Xingu Alive Movement for organizing several actions in mid-June. At the request of Electronorte, the police authorities are considering the issue of arrest warrants for at least 11 local activists and residents. The hearing was held today and the court is expected to rule tomorrow.
Amazon Watch’s team has sprung into action mobilizing the international media and getting the story out. At the Rio+20 earth summit we accompanied indigenous leaders Chief Raoni and Sheyla Juruna as they spoke out against Belo Monte in many different spaces. This week our team is coordinating media outreach, mobilizing funding and international observers, and supporting the legal defense of the local leaders facing criminal charges and who face imminent arrests.
I am calling on your support. Please make a generous donation to the Xingu Urgent Action Fund at this critical moment to enable Amazon Watch and our local partners to carry out this important work. Don’t forget to share this update with your personal networks and stay tuned for more news.
For the Amazon Rainforest,