Activists with banners and leaflets picketed Melbourne’s Sofitel Hotel this morning while others entered the meeting to protest using proxy votes donated by sympathisers …
The protest comes a day after the release of an environmental report on the Freeport Mine detailing years of breaches of Indonesian laws and pollution on a vast scale.(The report is available from http://www.walhi.or.id; see also The Age and the Free West Papua Campaign website here.) Speakers outside the meeting included Senator Kerry Nettle of the Greens, Techa Beaumont of the Mineral Policy Institute, a West Papuan living in Melbourne, and Moses Havini, International Representative for the Bougainville Autonomous Government, reminding us that Rio Tinto is reported to be planning to reopen the disastrous Panguna mine in that country.
From the organisers:
As a key stakeholder of the Freeport mine, Rio Tinto is heavily implicated in corruption, ongoing human rights abuses and extensive environmental destruction in West Papua.
Freeport’s private security personnel and the Indonesian military guarding the mine, have killed over 160 people in and around the mining area – yet not one single person has been held to account for the killings.
The Freeport mine is the largest tax payer in Indonesia – however, the local land owning indigenous Amungme and Kamoro people are living in dire poverty.
Long standing protests by both the Indonesian and West Papuan people against Freeport mine operations have been met with routine intimidation and repression.
Please come and support efforts to put an end to Rio Tinto’s wholesale environmental vandalism and to promote ‘extra-territorial legislation’ that will force Australian companies operating overseas to abide by and be accountable to, Australian law.
In solidarity with our Indonesian and West Papuan neighbours, we need to force Rio Tinto to lift its game. Lets exercise our right to assemble and our right to free speech – rights Indonesians and West Papuans do not have!