Greenpeace Paper Firm Protest Turns Violent

JAKARTA ~ Greenpeace activists and security guards clashed outside the headquarters of Indonesia’s biggest logging and palm oil company, the Sinar Mas Group, in Jakarta on Thursday, environmentalists said.

Activists said they were punched and kicked by Sinar Mas guards and police as they tried to peacefully demonstrate against the company’s logging practices.

“The excessive violence today by Sinar Mas security is testament to the way this company does business,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said in a statement.

“Sinar Mas may think they are above the law, but the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the Indonesian constitution.

“We are facing the greatest threat to humanity – climate chaos – yet still companies like Sinar Mas continue to destroy forests and peatlands rather than protecting them for future generations.”

A spokesman for the company refused to comment on the incident.

Greenpeace climbers unfurled a huge banner reading “Forest and Climate Criminal” on the building as part of the demonstration to demand a halt to the company’s logging.

“Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is saying internationally that he will reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, yet Sinar Mas continue their forest destruction unabated,” Maitar said.

“If he is serious about Indonesia being a global leader in solving the climate crisis, he must take immediate action to stop this company destroying Indonesia’s greatest asset – carbon rich forests and peatland.”

Greenpeace has been lobbying the country’s main logging companies and the government for an immediate moratorium to expansion of oil palm plantations blamed for the loss of vast areas of pristine forest.

Indonesia is widely seen as the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter by virtue of the pace of its deforestation, which is a major contributor to global warming and climate change.

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