Mar 12, 2001

Thousands Protest Against Spain Water Plan

In response to a plan to drain water from the northern Ebro river to aid Spain's arid southeast, more than 100,000 Spaniards took to the streets of Madrid to protest the government's plan.

Police estimated 120,000 protestors marched while groups that ogranized the potest stated the figure higher at approximately 400,000.

The government's $21 billion "hydrological plan" calls for removing water from the Ebro river to aid the parched Almeria and Murcia areas. Current rains and flooding are offered as proof that there is water to spare, state some.

Others, such as ecologists and protestors, argue that tampering with the river will harm the rivers habit, including the Iberian lynx, a species close to extinction. They also argue the plan violates EU rules.

The government continues to defend its plan by stating that it is "complies with environmental standards and is vital for Spain's development."

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