In China, India and Brazil recent protests have escalated land use politics into violent confrontations over proposals to develop waste discharge, nuclear waste facilities and hydroelectric plants in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Angry demonstrators in China smashed up a government office in Qidong near Shangahi last weeked to protest a waste discharge plant they said would pollute the water supply. Hundreds of local indigenous opponents in Brazil are trying to block construction of the world’s largest hydroelectric project, the 11,000-megawatt Bel Monte dam. In India mass anti-nuclear protests and hunger strikes have delayed construction of two nuclear power plants in Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal has dropped plans for six Russian reactors following protests.
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blames activists in the U.S. and Germany for whipping up protests. In Brazil, while environmentalists and indigenous groups oppose the Bel Monte dam, many Brazilians support the project. The New York Times’s Jane Perlez reports that several people reached by telephone in Qidong said the local government sent text messages to residents and storekeepers asking them not to participate in the demonstration.
Chinese land use protests gained international attention last year when anti-corruption protesters in the southern Chinese village of Wukan expelled officials who had sold land to real estate developers without properly compensating the local residents. Brazil, preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has also faced protests from residents of a squatter neighborhood the city wants to tear down.
For the full New York Times report, click here. Accounts of the Bel Monte dam protests in Brazil are found at ABC News and Forbes magazine, and Nukewatchinfo.org reports on anti-nuclear protests in India.