Indonesian Embassy Stormed
The Indonesian embassy in London was forcefully entered today in a protest against the country's continued occupation of West Papua. Campaigners, who locked themselves to the premises, are demanding the Indonesian government cease their colonialist campaign in West Papua, which has killed an estimated 100,000 indigenous people . The flag flying from the embassy's balcony was also changed to the 'Morning Star', the national flag of West Papua and outlawed by the Indonesian regime.
West Papua, an area rich in natural resources, was invaded by Indonesia in 1962 and officially annexed following a fraudulent referendum in 1969 . The Indonesian occupation has opened the way for the exploitation of the area by foreign mining and logging companies, such as the British based firm Rio Tinto plc, involved in the giant Freeport copper and gold mine. The mine makes a profit of $1million a day but the West Papuans have not been properly compensated for their forced resettlement or for the 280,000 tonnes of untreated tailings dumped into their river systems daily.
The human rights situation in West Papua continues to deteriorate. The recent arrest of Benny Wenda, a well-known West Papuan independence leader, provides for further alarm, he has been held for three months without trial and an assassination attempt was recently made on his life. The campaigners are demanding his immediate release as a first step in fulfilling Indonesia's pledge to abide by international human rights standards.
"The Indonesian occupation has meant nothing but disaster and death for West Papua," says one of the campaigners who entered the embassy. "Actions like today's will become more frequent if they do not take steps to reign in their military and allow the West Papuans the right to self-determination."
A protest also took place outside the embassy where protesters distributed flyers and held a large banner reading "Free West Papua".
Anglesey Aluminiums on Holy Island, Anglesey, was today blockaded for nearly six
hours by a group of 15 people making novel use of a clapped out mini van and a
tripod. The action was in solidarity with the OPM - the Free West Papua
Movement - and the people of West Papua as part of a week of action which has
included the storming of the Indonesian Embassy earlier in the week.
The van, laden with two cement filled oil barrels was towed in at 8.30am before
irrevocably and finally breaking down outside the main entrance to the aluminium
smelting plant. Someone stuck their hand through a hole in the side panel and
locked onto one of the barrels. The other barrel fell through a hole in the
floor of the van, tyres deflated on account of their being slashed and
another person stuck their arm in and clipped on. So that wasn't going anywhere
for a while. A long tail back rapidly ensued.
Meanwhile a scaffold tripod went round the back entrance just in case anyone had
sneaky ideas about slipping in or out that way. After a couple of hours the
plant opened an unbeknown third narrow entrance, allowing light freight and
traffic access, but larger, heavier vehicles were prevented from entering or
leaving for another 3 1/2 hours. A large number of police arrived but no
arrests were made, although a couple of people were harrassed by police when
trying to leave after the protest, and several people were followed to a local
Anglesey Aluminium are 51% owned by Rio Tinto Zinc. Freeport Mine is the
world's second largest copper mine and the largest proven gold deposit worth $40
billion. Indonesia gains 20% royalties from the mine at Mt Carstenz. This
provides 47% of West Papua's Gross Domestic Product. The joint owners, the US
company Freeport McMoRan and British company Rio Tinto Zinc, gain 80%. The local
Papuan receive no royalties yet their homeland is despoiled by mining operations
such as these. West Papuans are also severely repressed by the Indonesian
government. An estimated 300,000 people have been murdered since 1963.
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