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15 Jun 2015

Global Construction Review (UK)

Nicaragua: 15,000 farmers march against canal project to defend land rights

"Thousands protest canal in Nicaragua over land issue", 15 Jun 2015

Carrying signs accusing Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega of being a “sellout” and saying “Out with the Chinese”, the protesters, mostly farmers, marched in the central Nicaraguan city of Juigalpa, which is not on the proposed canal route...[T]he protesters were angry about a provision in the country’s canal law that compels residents along the route to sell their land to Hong Kong-based company HKND at whatever price the company offers. In 2013 the Nicaraguan government gave HKND the concession to build and operate the canal, which would link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and rival the Panama Canal...[O]pposition to the canal is growing because of what he called the government’s secrecy over the project, and that the state’s suppression of protests has resulted in “militarised” zones along the canal route. Huete-Pérez [vice president of the Academy of Sciences for Nicaragua] and others have called for an environmental impact assessment, conducted by UK consultancy ERM...to be made public...[A] panel of independent scientists levelled harsh criticisms against the environmental impact study...The study will be discussed by an “inter-institutional commission”...

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