Jakarta – Greenpeace Indonesia says that the hindrance and intimidation against the Chasing the Shadows bicycle team which is conducting a bike tour and campaign on the climate crisis resembles the authoritarian practices of Suharto's New Order regime.
Greenpeace Energy and Climate Campaign head Tata Mustasya said that the two types of intimidation have a similarity, namely pitting members of the public against each other.
The intimidation and hindrance against the activists was carried out by a group of people claiming to be community representatives in the Central Java cities of Semarang and Probolinggo.
"Pitting members of the public against each other is a practice employed by authoritarianism like the New Order", Mustasya told CNN Indonesia on Tuesday November 8.
Mustasya believes that the hindrance and intimidation has injured democracy in Indonesia. One of the things enjoyed under a democratic system is that the ordinary people are free to express an opinion.
"Yesterday's hindrance damaged the vales and the implementation of our democracy which is currently growing", he said.
According to Mustasya, the police should be held accountable. Greenpeace is also asking the police to provide a sense of security for civil society members.
"[We] strongly protest and ask that the police to be responsible for creating a sense of security for the public", he said.
Earlier, Greenpeace Indonesia decided to withdraw the Chasing the Shadow bicycle team which was planning to ride to Bali to campaign on the climate crisis during the G20 Summit on November 15-16.
"We withdrew. Because physically it's become very risky and dangerous", Mustasya told CNN Indonesia.
Mustasya revealed that this repression was not just experienced by Greenpeace. He said that there were other environmental organisations such as 350 who suffered similar treatment. Yet the events planned by 360 were just a musical event and discussion.
"In Bali we also did not come out. Yesterday [events by] our friends from 350 were cancelled suddenly. The organisation 350, the event was music and a discussion", he said. (YLA/PMG)
In separate articles on the same day, in which CNN identified the "community representatives" as belonging to a group called the National Horseshoe (TKN), CNN reported that WhatsApp accounts belonging to Greenpeace staff were hacked several days before the incident in Probolinggo. "That's right (they were hacked)", Mustasya told CNN. He said that at least four WhatsApp accounts, including his, were hacked on Saturday evening, November 5. "Me and Bang [Brother] Leo (Greenpeace Country Director) got hit on November 5 at around 10 pm local time", he said. "Then on the next day it was followed by Mbak [Sister] Norika (Engagement Campaigner) and even Mbak Shally (in administration)", he added.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Greenpeace Sebut Pengadangan Aktivis Praktik Otoritarianisme ala Orba".]