Latin America & Caribbean

Nicaraguans protest against canal plans

Demonstrators protesting against the canal 10 Dec 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Demonstrators marched to the UN offices in Managua, many of whom had travelled from rural areas

Thousands of people have marched through the streets of Nicaragua's capital, Managua, to protest against a canal project that will link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The demonstrators said their land was being taken away to make room for the planned $50bn (£31bn) project.

The waterway will be 278km (172 miles) long and will be deeper and wider than the Panama Canal.

Work is due to start this month and be completed in five years.

The protesters waved flags and chanted anti-government slogans. Most had come from villages along the planned canal route.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Work on the first phase of the construction of the canal is due to start on December 22.

Government officials said in November that the canal would have a minimal impact on the environment and that it would create 50,000 jobs in one of Central America's poorest countries.

But protests along the canal route have increased in recent weeks with thousands of people concerned that their property would be appropriated without proper compensation.

The project is expected to include two ports, an airport, a resort and an economic zone for electricity and other companies.

There have been questions raised about the finances underpinning the project and allegations that Wang Jing, the Chinese businessman behind the plan, lacks experience in developing and financing big infrastructure projects.

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