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Hundreds of protesters in Sukoharjo demand release of environmental activists

Java Post - March 22, 2018

Hundreds of students and local residents in Sukoharjo, Central Java, held a protest action in front of the Sukoharjo regional police headquarters (Mapolres) on Thursday March 22.

The protesters were demanding that police immediately release seven suspects who had earlier been arrested for their involvement in a rally against environmental pollution by the company PT Rayon Utama Makmur (PT RUM).

The demonstrators also called on law enforcement agencies to investigate the PT RUM pollution case which has up until now been ignored.

The student protesters came from three different universities: The March 11 University (UNS), the Surakarta Muhammadiyah University (UMS) and the Surakarta State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN).

In addition to this, Sukoharjo residents who have suffered from the effects of the pollution from PT RUM were also involved in the action.

The protesters noted that the law enforcement agencies, both the police and the TNI (Indonesian military) had acted repressively against local residents and students protesting against PT RUM. One form this repression has taken has been the arrest and indictment of seven people.

"Rather than investigating the environmental pollution the police have instead arrested fighters for the environment. And the police have instead used the arson incident to bury the real issue", said action coordinator Widodo.

The protesters believe that law enforcement officials have behaved excessively. This includes the massive security being provided for PT RUM.

"We are calling on the police to immediately release the fighters who were arrested. In addition to this we are also calling on the police to withdraw the troops from PT RUM", asserted Widodo.

As has been reported, the vandalism of the PT RUM factory and torching of a security post has had serious consequences. At least seven people have been arrested since the incident.

They are Muhammad Hisbun Payu alias Is, Kelvin Ferdiansyah, Sutarno, Sukemi Edi Susanto, Brilian Yosef Naufal, Bambang Hesthi Wahyudi and Danang Tri Widodo. (apl/JPC)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Seratusan Orang Unjuk Rasa di Mapolres Sukoharjo.]

Source: https://www.jawapos.com/read/2018/03/22/198185/seratusan-orang-unjuk-rasa-di-mapolres-sukoharjo.

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