The incident in Thailand kept on running through my mind and I was wondering whether there are more protests against dam constructions worldwide. So I kept on doing some research.
- The government of Honduras is planning to build three dams on the River Patuca which would have a serious impact on the ecosystem. Indigenous people of Honduras protested against the construction for several years, for instance by a letter campaign. (see Cultural Survival „In Pursuit of Autonomy: Indigenous Peoples Oppose Dam Construction on the Patuca River in Honduras“, 06 Dec 2011)
- Four indigenous peoples in Namibia asked the government to stop the planned dam construction, but their voices were not heard. As a result, in February 2012 they petitioned the UN to demand a „greater say in the decisions affecting them“. (see Africa News “Namibian nomads ask UN to halt dam construction”, 24 Feb 2012)
- More than 100,000 indigenious people have to leave their home because of the Bakun Dam construction in Malaysia. 40 NGOs in Malaysia alone demonstrate against the construction together with NGOs and indigenous people from the Bakun region. (see Friends of the Earth “The Bakun Hydroelectric Project – Malaysia”, Jan 2002)
- When the drilling for the Munzur Valley Dam in Turkey was about to begin, opponents of the dam attacked the machines. Baris Yildrim, a lawyer specialised in the environment, added that the construction of a dam in the Munzur Valley Nationalpark is actually illegal. (see Turkish Weekly “Local Reactions to Dam Construction in Turkey”, 01 Oct 2010)
- In order to build the Three Gorges Dam in China more than a million people were dislocated. News about protests against the construction or dislocation are rare. Only indirect hints can be found in some articles which indicate that not everyone agreed with the government’s decision to builld a dam there. (see BBC “Millions forced out by China dam”, 2 Oct 2007, news.cn “Millions more face relocation from Three Gorges Reservoir Area”, vom 11 Oct 2007)
- China’s plan to build a dam in Tibet drew India’s protest against it. When the Brahmaputra, one of India’s main rivers, is dammed on the Chinese territory, this will have a significant impact on the water supply in India. (see 2point6billion.com “India’s Ramesh Comments on Brahmaputra project in Beijing”, 10 May 2010)
- Azeris in Iran protested against the dam construction on Lake Urmia’s tributaries. More than 100 people were arrested during protests because of taking part in illegal demonstrations. (see minorityvoices.org “Iran Azeris protest against dams and government neglect”, 15 Jun 2012; UNHCR “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012 – Case study: Between a lake and a river: government neglect in Iran”, 28 Jun 2012)
- The Innu in Canada (a tribe in the Northeast of the country) blocked the highway – on which material for the dam construction was supposed to be transported – for 4 days. After the police broke up the protest, a group of women organised a protest march over 900 kilometers. When they arrived at the construction side of the dam they were joined by other affected communities and formed a human chain in front of the construction side’s entrance. (see Towardsfreedom.com on Ticker “Innu Continue to Protest the Plan Nord and Romaine River Hydro Project”, 04 Jul 2012)
These are only some examples, but they do give an impression that protests against dam constructions – especially against dams which would have a significant impact on people’s livelihood – are not that rare.