Montenegro Greens See Red Over River Dam Project

Several dozen people in the northern Montenegrin town of Bijelo Polje rallied on Saturday against a government plan to build a dam on the Bistrica River, which the authorities have now pledged to cancel.

Environmentalists gathered in the centre in Bijelo Polje around noon and walked to the municipal building, after which they moved to the river bank for a gathering with local food and music.

After local residents with the support of opposition parties and several NGOs condemned the threat to the river, which is home to fish farms as well as a natural jewel, the government on October 17 said the dam project would be cancelled.

But locals are still concerned. "I hope the project is cancelled but we doubt the decision. Bistrica has many beauties and we will not allow this planned hydroelectric power station to destroy them all," Zlatan Idrizovic, a fish farm owner in Bistrica and one of the protest organisers, told BIRN.

The Bistrica river and its valley are home to many rare species as well as boasting waterfalls and historical sites. They include the Ottoman-era Old Stone Bridge, the Povdrh monastery and some ancient caves in the valley.

The hydroelectric power station was supposed to be built by Dzarko Buric, a businessman and owner of hotels who is reportedly close person to Montenegro's President, Milo Djukanovic.

Photo: Za spas Bistrice

Photo: Za spas Bistrice

Photo: Za spas Bistrice

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