Amazon Indians seize hydropower plant, workers in Brazil

Indigenous protesters in Brazil’s Amazon have occupied the site of a hydropower plant they say has been built on an ancient burial ground, local media and wire services reported.

Some 300 protesters took over the Dardanelos hydropower plant in Mato Grosso state on Sunday, preventing 100 workers from leaving, media from the region reported.

They want compensation and have demanded talks with the company and government officials, reports indicate. 

The plant is one of several being constructed in the Amazon region.

Armed with bows and arrows, the Amazon Indians occupied the site at dawn on Sunday and confined the construction company’s employees to their barracks, Reuters reported. There were no reports of injuries. 

Government officials are expected to meet with representatives from the dam and the National Foundation for Indigenous Affairs Monday in Mato Grosso.

The plant is being built on the Aripuana River, some 400km (250 miles) north of the Mato Grosso state capital, Cuiaba.

It is the first phase of a hydro-electric project there and is expected to start operations by January 2011.

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