An Amazonian community has threatened to “go to war” with the Brazilian government after what they say is a military incursion into their land by dam builders. The Munduruku indigenous group in Para state say they have been betrayed by the authorities, who are pushing ahead with plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without their permission.
Public prosecutors, human rights groups, environmental organisations and Christian missionaries have condemned what they call the government’s strong-arm tactics. According to witnesses in the area, helicopters, soldiers and armed police have been involved in Operation Tapajós, which aims to conduct an environmental impact assessment needed for the proposed construction of the 6,133MW São Luiz do Tapajós dam.
The facility, to be built by the Norte Energia consortium, is the biggest of three planned dams on the Tapajós, the fifth-largest river in the Amazon basin. The government’s 10-year plan includes the construction of four larger hydroelectric plants on its tributary, the Jamanxim.
Under Brazilian law, major infrastructure projects require prior consultation with indigenous communities. Federal prosecutors say this has not happened and urge the courts to block the scheme which, they fear, could lead to bloodshed.
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