Two killed in Nicaragua canal protests

Two people have been killed during protests by Nicaraguan farmers over the building of a canal. (AAP)

Two people have been reported killed in a police crackdown on Nicaraguan farmers protesting the building of a canal across their land.

A police crackdown on hundreds of Nicaraguan farmers protesting the construction of a $US50 billion ($A54.1 billion) canal across their land has left two dead, an activist and opposition leader say.

Police action against protesters began on Tuesday and intensified on Wednesday near land to be expropriated by Chinese firm Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Investment (HKND) to build a massive canal.

The leader of protests in the department of Rio San Juan, south of Managua, told AFP he saw the bodies of two people but police blocked protesters from approaching them.

Opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre said that the crackdown also left many people injured.

The government has not confirmed any casualties among protesters.

Protests followed the inauguration of the canal on Monday by President Daniel Ortega and Chinese billionaire Wang Jing.

Wang won a 100-year contract to build the canal in 2013. The environmental, technical and financial studies of the 280km-long route have been kept secret.

The canal is expected to displace around 30,000 people, mainly poor farmers and native people, but could be a major financial boon for the Central American nation.

HKND is expected to employ 50,000 people over five years of construction. The canal route crosses Lake Nicaragua and runs through rainforest and at least 40 villages.

Source AAP

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