Rofiqi Hasan, Denpasar – Hundreds of Balinese student activists held a demonstration at the US Consulate General in provincial capital of Denpasar on Monday December 10. The action was part of International Human Rights Day commemorations and at the same time to protest the United States’ intransigence on climate change.
A number of student organisations joined the protest including, among others, the Bali Association of Narcotics Victims (IKON), the Falun Gong Group, Papuan students and environmental activists. Each of the groups came with something distinctive to denote their identity, such as the Papuans who wore traditional dress.
“All these elements have joined together because [we] feel that the source of the problem lies with the stand being taken by the US government,” said action coordinator M Katafi. Each group then issue a statement in according to their specific concerns. The speeches were accompanied with shouts of protest. “Number One Terrorist, Number One Terrorist”, they shouted.
Wenslaus, from Papua, called on the US to end investment in Papua. “They just exploit and damage our environment, but the people never prosper”, he said. His colleagues held up posters with messages such as “Don’t take My Virgin Forest”, “Oppose the satellite launch in Biak”, “Free the Papuan Activists”, “President Yudhoyono, Vice President Kalla don’t become US puppets” and the like.
But two hours after demonstrators had read out a people’s declaration on climate change, no one had came out to meet with them. The demonstrators called for an end to the exploration of natural resources that damage the environment and are a source of human rights violations. “Sovereignty over resources must be returned to the people”, said Astika, who read out the declaration.
[Translated by James Balowski.]