Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Occupy Indonesia: Anti-mine Protesters Burn Government Buildings, Banks, Two Protesters Killed

Dec. 26, 2011 Earth First! Newswire

Two protesters have been killed and 10 others injured during a raucous
protest over a planned goldmine, co-owned by an Australian company, in
eastern Indonesia.

The victims were among nearly 1000 people in Lambu village in West
Nusatenggara province trying to stop the goldmining project by Australia’s
Arc Exploration and its Indonesian partner, PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara.

The villagers fear the project will destroy their land and threaten
forests and water resources.

National police spokesman Major-General Saud Usman Nasution says police
were forced to fire on Saturday’s protest after demonstrators burnt down
dozens of government buildings, banks and homes.

Nasution said that police arrested 47 people involved in the protest,
which disrupted port and ferry services in the coastal town of Sape.

Police defended their use of force on Sunday after the deaths of two men
they shot while trying to disband a mob occupying the Sape port on Sumbawa
island who were protesting a local mine.

“The protest by occupying and prohibiting activities at the Sape ferry
harbor since December 20 disturbed the activities of society,” National
Police spokesman Insp. Gen Saud Usman said.

Police said the absence of ferry services had caused unrest among the
people, prompting law enforcement to act. Saud also accused the protestors
of “using women and children as shields” and refusing to negotiate.

Three “provocateurs” were arrested along with 44 others, including six
children, for questioning. Saud said police had confiscated 10 machetes,
four sickles, one spear and several fuel bombs from the protestors.

He identified those killed as Arief Rachman, 18, and Syaiful,17. Eleven
others were wounded.

Lahmuddin from the National Student League for Democracy said people
angered by reports of the shooting attacked and burned several buildings
including village halls, subdistrict offices and the houses of several
people known to work for the mining firm they were protesting against,
Sumber Mineral Nusantara.

National Police assistant for operations Insp. Gen. Badrodin Haiti
justified the shooting, saying the protesters were armed with machetes,
spears and knives.

“If a protest clearly runs against the law by trying to enforce a wish,
should it be allowed to happen?” Badrodin said, adding that the port was
crucial to the local economy. “We tried to persuade them [to disband] but
failed. I am not blaming the personnel in the field.”

He insisted the shots had not been aimed to kill. “The personnel, of
course, never had the intention to kill anyone,” he said.

Hundreds of students held rallies in Mataram and Bima, West Nusa Tenggara,
burning furniture they had removed from the district council building. The
district council accused police of “arrogance” and vowed to form a
fact-finding team.

Several religion-based student organizations issued a joint statement on
Sunday accusing the police of failing in their reforms and of being

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