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Nicaragua Farmers Protest Against China-Built Canal Over Mass Displacements

© Wikipedia / SoerfmNicaragua Canal
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Thousands of Nicaraguans have held demonstrations against Nicaragua’s inter-oceanic canal construction as locals protested against mass displacements and environmental pollution, media reported Sunday.

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MEXICO CIT (Sputnik) — The Nicaraguan canal, being built by a Chinese firm, will connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and would rival the century-old Panama canal.

The demonstrations took place in Nicaragua's city of Juigalpa on Saturday.

The protesters, mainly farmers from local villages, through which the construction will pass, feared that the construction will have huge environmental impact and force thousands off their land as authorities plan to seize rural properties, according to the BBC.

The protesters also accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of "selling the country to the Chinese," according to the broadcaster. Nicaragua's government argues the canal will bring vital investment to one of Central America's poorest countries.

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Dozens of demonstrations have been staged so far by the Nicaraguan farmers in the past year against the country’s planned route between the oceans. According to the various estimates, the project will displace between 30,000 and 120,000 people that live along the canal’s future route.

Nicaragua began building the $50-billion dollar canal on December 22, 2014. The private Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKCD) Group was commissioned to complete the ambitious project within five years.

The new canal is set to be longer and wider than the Panama Canal. The HKCD was granted a 50-year concession to manage the project, with a possible extension for another 50 years, after the construction is completed.

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