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August 12, 1999
More Anti-Narmada Dam Protests Planned
Ravi Sharma in Berkeley
The International Rivers Network is planning several protests against the Sardar Sarovar and to show solidarity with the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
The success of recent protests in Washington and several other North American cities has spurred the organization to have more demonstrations and involve more NRIs, a spokesperson for the group said.
On a recent morning, a one hundred square foot dam painted with the slogan 'Kill the dam or the dam will kill' was erected in Washington DC, blocking the street in front of the Indian Embassy.
Two men and two women, muddy, wet and surrounded in debris, laid lifeless on the street in front of the dam. Around 50 supporters waved flags and placards and chanted slogans in support of the people of Narmada Valley.
The protestors distributed literature claiming that half a million people -- mostly Dalits and Adivasis -- will be uprooted from their homes. They also quoted former World Bank officials who said that the gains of the proposed dam have been highly exaggerated.
"These people have symbolically 'drowned' here at the embassy today to show the Government of India that there is international support for the struggle of the people of the Narmada Valley and great concern for their plight," said Patrick McCully of International Rivers Network.
The DC action was one of several taking place around the world to mark an international day of solidarity with the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Protest vigils were held last week outside the Indian consulates in Toronto and San Francisco. In Tokyo, Friends of the Earth activists conveyed their support for dam opponents in meetings with the Indian Ambassador and executives from Sumitomo Corporation, which is building turbines for Sardar Sarovar. In Sydney, Australia, a letter protesting the Sardar Sarovar Dam and endorsed by a number of environmental and human rights groups will be presented to the Indian consulate.
For more information contact: Patrick McCully, International Rivers Network; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.; (510) 848-1155, fax (510) 848-1008. Or write to, 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703.
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