Solidarity with Kulon Progo farmers – 11 January 2010

MAC banner and flag outside Indonesian Consulate

MAC banner and flag outside Indonesian Consulate

In response to a call for international support from the Association of Shoreline Farmers (Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai – PPLP), the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC – http://mac.anarchobase.com/) organised a protest outside the Indonesian Consulate in Melbourne this morning. Called at short notice and falling on a day when temperatures were forecast to exceed 45 degrees, the gathering was not surprisingly small (about ten in all), but made its point. A statement was read in English outside the front gate, and then in Indonesian at the back entrance – requests to be admitted to the building or to deliver a message directly to a member of the consulate were refused, but a member of the staff was busy with a camera, and an officer did agree to take a copy of the statement…

Staff member with camera

Staff member busy with camera, police in attendance

Reading the statement in English

Member of MAC reading the statement in English

Reading the statement in Indonesian

Reading the statement in Indonesian at the rear of the Consulate

The text of the Statement in English:

The Kulon Progo farmers in the Yogyakarta region, of Indonesia, have been hit by an enormous challenge to their decades of self-reliance and autonomous practice. The land is being threatened by the prospect of being turned into an iron mine. Not only will this take away the livelihood of the farmers, but this project will have a massive environmental impact upon the land.

For decades, the Kulon Progo farmers have overcome obstacles that would otherwise have put a halt to their practice of living, such as daily battering by the wind and the occasional storm, and a ban on farming by the government. But their insistence on being autonomous and independent has helped their survival. Through the custom of meeting, discussing and sharing, they gradually found new strategies to grow and survive together.

That is, until the news came that, under the belly of the sand on which they thrive, there is fresh water and iron. The fresh water has revitalized the lives of the inhabitants of the region. But the iron has brought the attention of investors from mining companies. In late 2005, PT Jogja Magasa Mining (Indonesia) in collaboration with Indo Mines Limited (Australia), made their way to the region and, with the help of the Indonesian government, imposed upon the farmers the project to mine out the region’s iron ore.

Since 2005, through a strong solidarity the Kulon Progo famers have consistently opposed any kind of intervention into their livelihood as farmers. They have rejected offers to be waged, to work for people they have never known, and to destroy the land they have cultivated for decades.

And here in Melbourne, we would like to call each and every one of you to come out and be with us in opposing the iron mine, to show our support, and our solidarity with, the Kulon Progo farmers.

WE ARE VOCALLY SUPPORTING THE FARMERS AND PPLP*

(Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai = Association of Shoreline Farmers)

WE ARE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THEIR STRUGGLE

See also http://kpsolidarity.wordpress.com/

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