Riot Broke Out as Street Vendors Being Evicted
A riot broke out at Pasar Minggu Station when authorities attempted to evict street vendors on Thursday, April 18. A number of street vendors, aided by students from the University of Indonesia, stood up against roughly 900 officers from PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) who tore down their stalls.
The riot leads to the death of a street vendor who died because of a heart attack. Another street vendor has to suffer a broken arm from trying to stop the officials. “Why does are our stalls being torn down?” said Tian Novita, a 27 year old street vendor. She claimed that she does not receive any notification about the eviction. Agus Sutijono, Head of Public Relation at KAI’sJakarta Operational Region One, stated that the street vendors have been notified since December 2012. “It’s not being torn down, it’s being put in order,’ said Agus.
Java residents protest iron mine
KULON PROGO, 18 April 2013 (IRIN) – “I want to return to being a farmer and to feeding my family, but I will continue to oppose the mine project,” said Tukijo, 47, speaking to IRIN from the main prison in Yogyakarta City, in central Java, Indonesia. Tukijo, who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name, was given a three-year jail sentence in March 2012, after allegedly abducting an employee of a mining company – a charge he denies. His arrest comes after several years of escalating opposition by residents of Kulon Progo, a coastal farming community in Yogyakarta Region, to a project to mine iron deposits in the sand beneath their farms.
“We want to preserve our environment, and we want to exercise our right as citizens to stay on our land,” he said. He and other community members say he was jailed in an effort to silence the community’s opposition. National problem According to Indonesia’s Central Bureau of Statistics, mining accounts for 12 percent of Indonesia’s GDP; the country is one of the world’s largest producers of tin, copper and coal.
But the push to exploit natural resources is increasingly being matched by resistance from affected communities, who often feel these projects lack regulation and that they benefit little. “There are many conflicts linked to land disputes in a number of areas, and these usually involve the local communities and plantation owners, mining concession holders or other institutions,” a parliamentarian told the Jakarta Globe.
Twenty-five farmers were shot, resulting in three deaths, during conflicts related to land disputes last year, according to the Consortium for Agrarian Reform. In 2012, there were 7,196 land disputes, up from 2,791 in 2012, the National Land Agency, a government office, recorded. Of these, only 60 percent were resolved, said Kurnia Toha, a spokeman for the office.
Indonesia’s parliament is reviewing an amendment the 1960 Agrarian Law intended to curb disputes related to land concessions. In January, the governor of East Kalimantan Province announced a one-year ban on new permits for forestry, mining and plantation concessions, citing the need to reduce land disputes between companies and local communities, media reports say.
“People now believe these projects are always damaging to the environment and don’t benefit local communities, so there is more and more opposition to them,” says Tommy Apriando, a Yogyakarta-based researcher for Mongabay-Indonesia, a local environmental publication.
Kulon Progo’s iron sand mining project, a joint venture between Australia’s Indo Mines Limited and Indonesia’s Jogja Magasa Mining, began in 2007 on a sliver of land owned by the Sultan of Yogyakarta. But many local residents opposed this first pilot phase of the project. Their concern, said Suparlan, the director of the Yogyakarta office of Walhi, an environmental NGO, is that extracting iron from the beach’s sand could weaken the barrier against salt intrusion from the ocean into coastal farms.
Live ammo used to disperse Moz protesters
Maputo – Mozambique police on Thursday fired into the air to disperse protesters demanding the release of their leader who was arrested during a demonstration at a coal mine owned by Brazil’s Vale group, an activist said. Around 200 protesters had picketed a police station in the northern Tete province where their leader Refo Agostinho was being held after his arrest a day earlier.
“Police are shooting into the air with real bullets. They want people to disperse,” Rui de Vasconcelos, a community activist, told AFP by telephone from the coal-rich Tete region. But he said the picketers vowed not to move until Agostinho was freed. “The constitution gives us the right to protest. Why do police react like this?” Police were not immediately reachable for comment.
Agostinho was arrested late Wednesday afternoon during a blockade by hundreds of brickmakers outside the mine who were demanding compensation for the loss of livelihood when they were resettled after Vale took over the land the mine now occupies in Tete province.
Iran: Steel and iron melting factory workers in Kurdistan stage protests
The Workers at Zagros Steel & Iron Melting Factory in Kurdistan province have staged a protest over the non-payment of their wages for past three months and the sudden closure of the factory. The workers in city of Gharveh gathered on Tuesday, April 16, outside the city’s municipality building to protest. The company’s mangers have shut down the factory and have sent workers SMS not to appear for work.
‘Illegal’ strike brings chaos to Chilean ports
A three-week strike resulting from demands by stevedores at the northern Chilean port of Angamos for a 30-minute lunch break and a place to set up a cafeteria ended recently. Sympathy strikes broke out at 15 other national ports, with that at Puerto Central in the main Chilean hub of San Antonio still ongoing.
The resulting chaos spread throughout many industries, which were unable to get shipments processed at the dockside. The Chilean Finance Minister, Felipe Larrain, urged dockers to quickly resolve the problem, pointing out that jobs were in jeopardy. At one stage, farmers had to cease harvesting crops because of a lack of means for exporting them.
The National Society of Agriculture and Fruit Producers calculates the cost to its members of between $80m and $100m, while the Export Manufacturers’ Association claims its members lost up to $14m daily. State-owned copper company, Codelco, which makes extensive use of Angamos, says its losses amounted to $500m.