Protesters occupy hydroelectric plant in Brazil's Amazon

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Amazonian indigenous groups protesting environmental damage on Thursday halted the construction of Brazil's Belo Monte hydroelectric plant.

The groups asked the construction company to compensate local communities, whose land would be affected by the dam, the third largest in the world.

According to Xingu Vivo, an NGO group, 150 people from indigenous groups occupied the site in Belo Monte on early Thursday. Norte Energia, the construction company, put the number of protesters at 60.

Norte Energia has evacuated its 4,500 workers and employees from the site.

Brazil's National Security Force sent a police unit to the site to negotiate with protesters and remove them from the site, said Xingu Vivo.

The indigenous people demanded Norte Energia compensate them for contamination of the river, which they said threatens their health. They asked the company to install electric power in their homes and guarantee their ownership to their land.

The Belo Monte hydroelectric plant and dam, which will be able to generate 11,233 megawatts of electricity, are located in the Altamira town in the northern state of Para, beside the Xingu River.

It is set to flood 516 square km of the Amazon forests, according to official data, and displace some 50,000 peasants and indigenous people.

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