Saturday, August 20, 2011

London protest highlights Amazon rainforest destruction

18 Aug 2011
Source: Bird Watch

Rainforest in the Para region of Brazil, where the Xingu River is located. Photo by Cesar Paes Barreto

Protesters have arranged an ‘International Day of Action’ on Monday 22 August to highlight the damage that will be done to Amazonian rainforest and indigenous peoples should the Belo Monte dam project go ahead. A protest has been arranged to take place in London.

The project is to be built on one of the Amazon’s major tributaries, the Xingu River, and was given the go ahead by the Brazilian environment agency in June 2011. The dam will divert the flow of the Xingu, drying up a 62-mile stretch of the river, displace some 30,000 indigenous peoples and destroy 150 square miles of rainforest.

The project will cause a permanent drought in the river’s ‘Big Bend’ area, which is home to about 1,000 indigenous peoples from the Juruna, Xikrín, Arara, Xipaia, Kuruaya, Kayapó and other ethnic groups. The fish fauna of the river is especially rich, with an estimated 600 fish species and with a high degree of endemism. It is thought that the dam project will lead to the disappearance of some 1,000 reptile, bird and fish species.

The International Day of Action will take place on Monday 22 August, and organisers are urging anyone who can to assemble outside Brazilian embassies across the globe. Protesters will be assembling outside the Brazilian embassy in London between 1 pm and 4 pm. NGO Amazon Watch says: “It can be anything from a small gathering of a few individuals handing out leaflets and holding up signs to a high-profile public action, including theatrical or musical presentations.”