Hundreds of protesters
have ended their occupation of the construction site of one the world`s largest
hydroelectric dams, Indian rights activists said Friday.
Renato Santana of the
Indian Missionary Council said more than 600 Indians, fishermen and river
dwellers peacefully left the construction site of the Belo Monte dam Thursday
night after a judge ordered their eviction.
They had taken over
the work site Thursday morning to demand that work on the dam be stopped.
A spokeswoman for the
Norte Energia consortium that is building the dam confirmed the end of the
occupation. Andressa Lanzellotti said the protesters caused no damage and that
work on the dam had resumed.
The $11 billion,
11,000-megawatt dam would be the world`s third largest when completed on the
Xingu River that feeds the Amazon.
Commission on Human Rights and other critics say the dam will displace
thousands of Indians and cause environmental damage. The commission has urged
the Brazilian government to halt construction.
The commission also
said the government should consult with indigenous groups and others and give
them access to environmental impact reports as well as adopt measures meant to
protect their livelihoods.
Ministry has rejected the suggestion and said Brazil had acted in an "effective
and diligent" manner to respond to demands by environmentalists and local
The government says
the project is essential for Brazil`s growing economy and that it will help
lift millions out of poverty. It has also said the dam was designed to minimize
the project will lead to more dams in the Amazon, spurring development that
will speed deforestation. Scientists say the region`s massive rain forest is
one of nature`s best defenses against global warming because it absorbs carbon