Greenpeace team stopped on way to Bali, banned from campaigning at G20 Summit

CNN Indonesia – November 8, 2022
Greenpeace activists confront 'community representative' in Probolinggo – November 7, 2022 (Greenpeace)

Jakarta – The Greenpeace Chasing the Shadow bicycle team has been repeatedly blocked and intimidated during its journey through Central Java to Bali. This began after they arrived in Semarang and continued as they made their way to Probolinggo.

The head of Greenpeace Indonesia, Leonard Simanjuntak, said they have been prohibited from campaigning while the G20 Summit is taking place in Bali on November 15-16.

"The bicycle team has suffered intimidation since they arrived in Semarang, both from unknown individuals as well as uniformed police officers", said Simanjuntak in a press release on Tuesday November 8.

Simanjuntak said that around seven people claiming to be police officers visited the team while they were on air at a radio station in Semarang.

The police, said Simanjuntak, asked about a planned action at the Simpang Lima traffic circle in Semarang, despite the fact that Greenpeace had no plans to hold an action in the area.

While they were in Semarang, Greenpeace held a photo exhibition, discussions and music performances at the Oudetrap Building in the Old City area.

Simanjuntak revealed that several officers from the Bhayangkara corps – as the police are known – and the military were also often seen in other places that blocked the Greenpeace cyclists and the team, such in the Timbulsloko Village, Sayung, Demak and the Tegaldowo Village in Gunem, Rembang.

He said that the repression increased when the team set off from Semarang in the direction of Surabaya. They were subjected to a terror campaign in the form of spying by unknown individuals and the vandalism of vehicles.

"The climax occurred during the journey to Probolinggo, were the threats if we continued the journey were conveyed explicitly, both verbally as well as by slashing vehicle tyres", he said.

In Probolinggo, said Simanjuntak, there was a group of people who claimed to be community representatives who opposed the bike tour and Chasing the Shadow campaign activities in Bali. Moreover one member of the group asked them to agree not to campaign during the G20 Summit.

"One of our friends who took part in the group was forced to draft a written statements which was signed over a materai [a kind of official stamp] saying they would not continue the journey", he said.

"Or not conduct any campaigns whatsoever during the G20 Ministerial Level Conference in Bali", he said.

Greenpeace believes these actions damage the principles of democracy and injure freedom of expression which is guaranteed under the country's constitution. According to Simanjuntak, repressive patterns like this are also often seen in cases of land theft such as the cases in Kendeng and Kulonprogo in Central Java.

Yet Simanjuntak is of the view that when campaigning Greenpeace always applies the principle of non-violence. The campaign focus which Greenpeace is taking up through the bicycle tour is to inform the public about the climate crisis which is already impacting on several parts of Indonesia.

"Along with threatening several aspects in our lives, including food and cultural history", he said.

According to Simanjuntak, the bicycle tour is one of the ways Greenpeace is promoting climate solutions to create a better future for Indonesia. Bicycles represent a symbol of vehicles with the most minimal emissions as a solution to the climate crisis.

In addition to this, said Simanjuntak, one of the solutions to prevent the impacts of the climate crisis is to accelerate the energy transition.

"Under the NDC [Nationally Determined Contribution] document, if Indonesia commits to reducing greenhouse gases, energy transition is one of the things that is imperative and must be done seriously, ambitiously and fairly", he said.

"This is the call the Greenpeace Chasing the Shadow bicycle team is conveying peacefully, creatively and openly", he said. (yla/ain)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tim Greenpeace Diadang di Probolinggo, Dilarang Kampanye Selama G20".]