Hundreds of people, including environmental activists and fishermen, have protested in Sri Lanka's capital to demand the government halt a $1.5 billion Chinese-funded port city project.

The city, to be built on reclaimed land off Sri Lanka's west coast, is to include a golf course, marinas, apartments, hotels and malls. About 500 people who demonstrated in Colombo on Monday said it would damage the environment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated the project in 2014 during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who relied heavily on China for infrastructure projects. It was suspended after Rajapaksa lost an election in January 2015, with the new government saying it wanted to review all projects to ensure they were environmentally viable and corruption-free.

The government decided to allow it to proceed last month.