World

Nicaragua canal opponents protest in capital 2 weeks ahead of announced groundbreaking

  • Farmers shout slogans against the construction of the Nicaraguan interoceanic canal as they arrive on trucks for a national protest march in Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile canal starts on Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

    Farmers shout slogans against the construction of the Nicaraguan interoceanic canal as they arrive on trucks for a national protest march in Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile canal starts on Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)  (The Associated Press)

  • People with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, take part in a national march against the construction of the planned Nicaraguan interoceanic canal, Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile, canal starts on Dec, 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

    People with umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, take part in a national march against the construction of the planned Nicaraguan interoceanic canal, Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile, canal starts on Dec, 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)  (The Associated Press)

  • People takes part in a national march against the construction of the planned Nicaraguan interoceanic canal, in Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile canal starts on Dec, 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

    People takes part in a national march against the construction of the planned Nicaraguan interoceanic canal, in Managua, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Building of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar, 173-mile canal starts on Dec, 22. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)  (The Associated Press)

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.