Erna Dwi Lidiawati, Palu – A protest action by local people against mining activities in the Kasimbar sub-district of Parigi Moutong regency in Central Sulawesi on Saturday February 12 has claimed a life. One of the protesters named Aldi was reportedly killed.
It is suspected that the victim was killed as a result of being shot by a police officer attempting to forcibly disperse a protest and blockade on Jalan Trans Sulawesi in the Siney Village, South Tinombo sub-district.
The protest action on Saturday, which began at 12 noon and ended at 12 midnight, was against a mining permit (IUP) belonging to the company PT Trio Kencana which operates in the area. This is not the first protest action that has been held.
Central Sulawesi regional police chief Inspector General Rudy Sufahriadi said that prior to the shooting police took action to open the road. He said the Parigi Moutong district police chief had already issued a warning that police would take action in accordance with standard operating procedures.
Because of this, Sufahriadi said he will deal with the case professionally and the police will act firmly against any officer who is found to have fired in the direction of demonstrators.
"We will be professional, we will act firmly in relation to protest actions without permits or police officers who are unprofessional", said Sufahriadi on Sunday February 13.
The action which took place on Saturday was urging Central Sulawesi Governor Rusdy Mastura to meet with the demonstrators. But because there was no information on when the governor would arrive, the protesters blocked the road between 12 noon and 12 midnight.
As a consequence, traffic could not pass through the road creating a seven kilometre traffic jam on a key road connecting Parigi Moutong regency and Gorontalo province.
Sufahriadi said that protest actions are not allowed on key roads. "This is the trans-Sulawesi highway which should not be closed", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Tolak Tambang di Parigi Moutong, Satu Korban Dilaporkan Tewas".]