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Indonesia:Foreign-Owned Oil and Mining Companies Become Target of Protests.

Pic: 1100 urban poor marched on Canadian-owned mining company
PT Inco in Makassar Apr 22 [Credit: Papernas/Berdikari]

This is a post from the new PAPERNAS blog [
PAPERNAS: Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional National Liberation Party of Unity]

Recent posts include:
Foreign-Owned Oil and Mining Companies Become Target of Protests.
Queuing for oil in an oil-rich country -
Police Invaded Campus; Students and Activists Beaten and Shot
Students Demand Nationalization of Mining Industries for Free Education.
News From LMND -

Workers carry out nationalization campaign

On March 16, workers from the Indonesian National Workers' Front of Struggle (FNPBI) carried out their action demanding the "nationalization of mining industries for workers' welfare" in front of INCO���s office in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province. Dozens of workers from Nuansa Cipta Magello Company, Mega Putra Sejahtera Company, Cahaya Cemerlang Company and students from National Student League for Democracy (LMND) marched for about 500 meter from Inco���s office carrying banners of demands written: Industrialization is the best way to solve the economic crisis! Never let foreign interest colonize our land! Enough being nation of coolie, rise up to become a self-sufficient nation! National industrialization for workers's welfare and decent wage!

Under the scorching hot sun, speakers enthusiastically stressed the urgency for the nation to nationalize foreign-owned mining companies that have plundered natural wealth and exploited workers with low wages. The action that was lead by a protest leader, Ros, went very orderly and was filled with speeches that explicitly urged the Indonesian government to meet their demands.

Students staged theatrical protest performance.

On Wednesday, April 4, dozens of students from the National Students' League for Democracy (LMND) staged a theatrical protest in front of Exxon Mobil's office in Jakarta and demanded that the government nationalize foreign-owned oil companies. The performance, as a part of LMND's nationalization campaign that began since the end of February, also demanded the revocation of the foreign capital investment law and oil and gas regulation that has opened the door wider to indiscriminate exploitation of Indonesia's natural resources.

The protest leader, Adikara, said that by exploiting Indonesia's natural wealth, Exxon gains profit at the rate of around 12 million rupiahs (about US$ 1200) per second in the midst of millions of Indonesian poor. The government, according to him, must immediately issue a presidential decree to nationalize foreign mining industries. The constitution rules that the government nationalize companies that control people's livelihood. "This is the mandate of the constitution" he said. "If the government is afraid to do it, at least renegotiate oil and mining contracts that have hurt the people."

While the protest was livened up by theatrical performance, protesters yelled chants "nationalization, solution to poverty"��� and held posters titled "Exxon out of Indonesia".��� LMND also emphasized the importance of a universal free education service.

Enviromental and students groups press municipal government to stop mining companies.

Back to South Sulawesi's, in its third biggest city, Palopo, an environmental coalition made up of NGOs, mass organisations, and student groups - Communities Concerned about Palopo City Environment - suffered from harsh state repression on April 8 when protesting against gold mining operation in the city's outskirts. Five students were badly injured when the police attacked the protest.

The repression happened when representatives of the coalition were in the middle of a negotiation to get an audience with members of the municipal parliament. After police stopped beating and chasing, protesters regrouped and returned to the parliament condemning police brutality and exposing evidences of government's collusion with the mining companies.

Since April 2005 the London-based Avocet Mining Plc and a joint venture of the local-owned PT Frantika and South Korean PT Seven Energy Group, were given municipal permit to mine gold in mount Siguntu. The area is known for its steep hill, beautiful scenery and Latuppa river - known by the local as their source of water.

Underground tunnels that the locals made to mine gold had caused several mud slides since 2001, fortunately without any casualty.

Since the beginning, the locals have rejected the operation of mining companies. However, the municipal officials have enthusiastically promoted them and even made promises to the people that roads and infrastructure will be built. The promises turned to be another lies while mining operation have caused the loss of more than 7,3 hectares of conservation forest, the destruction of several streams and rivers, toxic waste, and the potential loss of productive land.

According to an investigation carried out by the coalition, the companies have violated the exploration permit and state legislation because they have mined in a forest conservation area, cleared the forest without any permission from nor compensation to the landowners, have not informed the locals about their exploration permit, and do not meet the environmental requirements.

Confronted with the evidences, some were audio visual recordings, the head of the parliament received representatives of the protesters and promised them that he would conduct an investigation to the mining site and confirm the evidences, although actually he is one of the state officials who signed the permit in the first place.

The dialog reached a deadlock but due to Police threat and intimidation the protesters decided to end the day and plan the next protest

1 Com:

Peter Boyle | April 25, 2008

And here is a report of sequel protests (including the one pictured above).

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