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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 September 2007, 23:56 GMT 00:56 UK
Argentine-Uruguay row heats up
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Argentine protester
The plant's Finnish owners insist it will not pollute rivers
Hundreds of Argentineans crossed into Uruguay amid tight security to protest outside a paper pulp mill, the cause of a major dispute between the countries.

Argentina and environmentalists say the plant pollutes rivers. Uruguay and the mill's Finnish owners say it will not.

Protests have been held on Argentina's side of the river for almost two years but this is the first time they have crossed in such numbers to Uruguay.

No one appears to have a solution to the long-running conflict.

Fenced in

The demonstrators started going through customs controls on the long bridge that links the two countries first thing in the morning.

They complained that Uruguayan officials confiscated their banners and were unnecessarily slow.

Uruguayan authorities built a fence around the factory and brought in 500 extra police officers to guard the perimeter and to patrol the River Uruguay.

About 2,000 demonstrators finally gathered to sing the national anthems from both countries and express their anger at a factory they say will contaminate the rivers and drive away tourists.

The pulp mill, which officially opened last week, is the biggest foreign investment in Uruguay - a plant the Finnish company, Botnia, says employs the latest technology and will not pollute.

The dispute has gone to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Argentine and Uruguayan governments, despite a long and friendly history, are now barely on speaking terms.

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18 Dec 06 |  Americas
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13 Jul 06 |  Americas
Argentine leader joins mill rally
05 May 06 |  Americas
Bank caution on Uruguay mill cash
12 Apr 06 |  Business
Greenpeace blocks pulp mill boat
03 Mar 06 |  Americas
River row divides former friends
15 Feb 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Argentina
02 Dec 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Uruguay
23 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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