Bolivia has passed a bill to suspend construction of the Beni-Cochabamba highway project through the Amazon following month-long protests against the project by the indigenous people.

The highway stretch between Villa Tunari and San Ignacio de Moxos was planned to run through the Isiboro Secure reserve, home to some 50,000 natives comprising three different indigenous groups.

The indigenous groups say that the road, which is in the early stages of construction, would bisect their reservation in Bolivia’s eastern Amazon lowlands.

The Bolivian Government maintains that the road is essential for development and would encourage trade by linking remote communities to market towns.

The $415m highway project is being financed by Brazilian development bank BNDES but the bank is yet to release the funds.