From the 19 to the 22 of August, 2011, protests against Belo Monte dam went global. Although the construction work on the dam has already begun, people have organized in protests on the Internet and in the streets of many Brazilian cities and throughout the world in front of Brazilian embassies and consulates. Advocating for the indigenous populations and traditional settlers of Volta Grande do Xingu region in the state of Para, they are also calling for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and environment. In this post, we compile a selection of photos and videos featuring the worldwide demonstrations.
Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, staged the biggest protest; it took place in Paulista Avenue and included members of the indigenous groups that will be affected by the hydroelectric power plant dam. Raphael Tsavkko, who is a Global Voices author, tweeted (@Tsvakko) his impressions and photos from the march of Sao Paulo during the afternoon of August 20:
Passions heated up in the city, and some Indians burned a doll called “Dilma” [after the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff]:
The Military Police released an estimate that at least 800 people attended the protest in Sao Paulo. Check out a video of the protest in the city, posted on YouTube by Dhirak:
The website Rede Brasil Atual covered the protest in Belém, the capital city of
Para, the state where the Belo Monte power plant is being built. Danilo Ramos has posted some photos of the march that went along the famous Ver-o-Peso market and other areas of the historical city center.
In Altamira, the municipality where the dam is to be located, the protest came on the day before, on Friday, August 19. Karen Hoffman posted on her Flickr page 15 photos of this protest.
The march in Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará, took place in a commercial area of the city center. Through posters and slogans, the demonstrators protested against the Belo Monte project, and also against the new Forestry Code:
In Brasília, the national capital of Brazil, demonstrators danced and sang songs of praise of the forest, in a natural area close to the buildings of the ministries of the federal government. Check out this short video posted on YouTube by the user FSPompeo2:
On August 22, another protest – which had been announced on the website of the organization Xingu Vivo – took place in Rio de Janeiro, in front of the headquarters of the National Development Bank (BNDES), calling on the government not to use public money for the construction of the power plant dam.
Thinking locally, protesting globally
On the International Day for the Defence of the Amazon, August 22, the protests against the construction of Belo Monte gained global proportions. The international organization Survival, which is dedicated to the protection of indigenous peoples, published an article with photos from several cities of the world, such as this one from London:
On Twitter, Xingu Vivo shared a video of the protest against Belo Monte that took place in Paris, France:
In the United States, activists from San Francisco also made their voices heard:
Also in Mexico, an itinerant movement of activists for “water and peace” (#CaravanaTemaca) demonstrated in front of the Consulate of Brazil in Guadalajara “in solidarity with the journey of fight against Belo Monte”. They aimed to hand out a letter to the Consul “demanding for the respect of human rights of the threatened people”:
Avaaz has an ongoing petition urging president Dilma Rousseff to stop development of the Belo Monte Dam Complex and “invest in energy efficiency and clean power sources, protect the basic human rights of indigenous people and local communities, and support sustainable development that protects lives and ecosystems”.