Brazil sends troops to ensure safety at 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower project

A request by Brazilian Minister of Mining and Energy Edison Lobao has led to the deployment of troops at the 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant.

According to state publication Diario Oficial da Uniao, Lobao made the request after more than 150 demonstrators occupied a Belo Monte worksite this past week in opposition of the controversial project.

The protestors ended their occupation March 22 after the plant’s operator, Norte Energia, agreed to discuss additional compensation with local groups.

“[The troops] will ensure the safety of the people, property and the maintenance of public order in areas where works, demarcations, services and other activities pertaining to the Ministry of Mining and Energy are taking place,” a government release said.

The troops — part of Brazil’s Forca Nacional — will stay at the site for a minimum of 90 days, Diario Oficial da Uniao said.

Belo Monte has been fraught with controversy throughout its construction, with delays previously caused by worker upheaval and a prior round of occupation by the “Xingu Alive Forever” group.

The project is being developed by the Belo Monte Construction Consortium (BMCC).

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