With three dead and nine critically injured, questions are being raised about the role of Australian owned company Arc Exploration after a community protest on the island of Sumbawa was attacked by Indonesian police.
Video has emerged showing Indonesian police firing on protesters who were demonstrating against a planned Australian-owned gold mine. The confrontation occurred on Saturday when nearly 1,000 villagers refused to end a week-long blockade of a local port. Police were ordered to fire directly into the crowd.
Later they can be seen dragging and beating one of the injured protesters.
The group was trying to block the construction of a gold mine, owned by Indonesia's PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara and Australian company Arc Exploration. The community was protesting against environmental damage caused by the mine. The company said in its June quarterly report that no exploration work was possible in the quarter because of protests. Villagers fear the project will destroy their land, threaten forests and drain water supplies.
The two men killed are have been local students. Nearly 50 protesters were arrested.
The shooting of peaceful protestors is completely unacceptable anywhere in the world, but with an Australian company involved because of its mining operation, it is imperative that the Australian Government step-in immediately to help calm the situation and ensure no more people are killed - said Derec Davies of Friends of the Earth Australia - Foreign Minister Rudd must respond and investigate the role of Arc Exploration and its dealings with the Indonesian National Police, which has responded so violently against the peaceful protest at the Sape Harbor over the Bima Gold Mine project.
The government deployed 250 personnel of Bima's police, 60 personnel of combined intelligence and crime investigation, and 60 personnel of Provincial NTB's Brimob. The meeting had no results. The unsatisfactory residents pushed the door of Lambu's sub district office, answered back by tear gas, rubber bullets, and suspected, live ammunitions. Hundreds of thugs organized by district officials provoked the residents. Clashes were inevitable. Not stopping there, Police chased and arrested five residents and locked them in the Police Station of Bima. There were some victims. M. Nasir (23) shot at the leg bone, allegedly by live ammunition. On November 2011, over one thousand residents returned to carry out actions in front of Bima Regional House of Representatives demanded the same thing.
Residents reported to The National Human Rights Commission, which then conducted an investigation on April 2011. On November 2011, The National Human Rights Commission issued a recommendation No. 2.784/K/PMT/XI/2011 for The Regent of Bima, The West Nusa Tenggara Chief of Police, and The Director of PT. SMN. The National Human Rights Commission recommended The Regent of Bima to improve the information system and publicize mining activities; started from exploration to exploitation, and also to suspend the activities of PT. SMN while waiting for the conduciveness of society's social life. The West Nusa Tenggara Chief of Police was asked to take coordinative and communicative steps with all elements of government and community leaders to prevent horizontal conflicts in Bima. The National Human Rights Commission urged the warranty for residents' freedom of speech or aspiration (demonstration) in accordance with statutory provisions, and to avoid repressive measures by using weapons with live ammunition in securing rallies.