Police Prepping to Break Freeport Strike: Union

The union representing striking Freeport Indonesia mine workers in Timika, Papua, is claiming that a number of police armored vehicles and heavy loaders were on their way to break up the labor action.

In a statement released by the All-Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI), secretary Albar Sabang said “four panzers, one backhoe and one bulldozer are on the way to mile 27 of the Freeport area in Mimika” with the intention of breaking the strike by Tuesday, when a delegation from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions is scheduled to meet with the Freeport unionists in Jakarta.

In a letter sent to SPSI by Mimika Police commander Deny Edward Siregar, police accuse the striking workers of breaching criminal laws and regulations governing workers’ conduct, the statement says.

The statement quotes Deny as saying: “The strike has shifted its orientation, and become demonstrations without asking permissions from the police and has blocked access to roads that are vitally important for the national interests.”

The police commander is further quoted as saying that the striking miners have disturbed public order.

SPSI denied in the statement breaking any laws or regulations, and criticized the alleged $14 million that Freeport paid annually to the National Police.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said on Friday that the police accepted “pocket money” from Freeport for helping to provide security for the company and its operations.

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