Several thousand people have marched through the Nicaraguan capital to protest a planned $40 billion inter-oceanic canal project.

Demonstrators waved flags, cheered and shot rockets in the air as they marched to United Nations offices in Managua on the anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Vilma Nunez is president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights. She told the crowd Wednesday that "your lands belong to you."

Communities along the canal route have protested with increased vehemence in recent weeks. Some people fear they will be displaced, and without fair compensation.

Officials said in late November that the canal will have minimal impact on the environment and society, but have not yet made their studies public.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for Dec. 22.