Thousands of flag-waving demonstrators marched through the Nicaraguan capital Managua on Wednesday to protest a $50 billion canal project set to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as a direct rival to the iconic Panama Canal.
Officials vow the 173-mile construction will have minimal impact on the environment and bring more than 50,000 jobs, but local people fear that entire villages will have to be forcibly displaced as a consequence, reports the Associated Press.
“Your lands belong to you,” Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, told the crowd.
Protesters marched to the city’s U.N. offices to demand transparency and adequate compensation for those displaced. Groundbreaking is slated for Dec. 22.