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Brazil power plant construction paralyzed by indigenous protesters

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Munduruku Ipereg Ayu Movement

Construction of a power plant on the Teles Pires River in Brazil was paralyzed by protesting members of the Munduruku tribe, a leader of the movement told Reuters yesterday, adding to tensions over land conflicts in South America’s largest country.

The protesters are demanding the formal demarcation of their indigenous land, and the return of burial urns that they said had disappeared during the construction work, the leader said.

“The works have been completely halted … We will remain here until our demands are met,” said Valdenir Munduruku, one of the group’s leaders.

Construction of the São Manoel hydropower plant, located near the border of Mato Grosso and Pará states, is budgeted at 3 billion reais ($942 million).

The plant is owned by Portugal’s EDP Energias do Brasil , China Three Gorges Corp and Furnas, which is controlled by Brazil’s Eletrobras.

The protesters are seeking demarcation of the 178,173- hectare (440,275-acre) Sawré Muybu indigenous territory where the Munduruku people live.

Eletrobras declined to comment. EDP Brasil and China Three Gorges did not immediately reply to requests for comment.