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May 08, 2017

Houses Burned, Shots Fired as Indonesian Farmers Arrested for Protesting Illegal Harvesting and Land Grab by Agribusiness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Christopher Herrera, christopher@ran.org, 510.290.5282
Emma Rae Lierly, emma@ran.org, 425.281.1989
Brihannala Morgan, bria@ran.org, 415.341.7051


Houses Burned, Shots Fired as Indonesian Farmers Arrested
for Protesting Illegal Harvesting and Land Grab by Agribusiness

SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2017 — Shots were fired into homes, houses were burned and destroyed, and community members were physically abused in a blatant land grabbing exercise on May 2 in the North Sulawesi Province of Indonesia.

The events are strongly linked to agribusiness interests in the region and are the latest example of a history of strong arm tactics employed by growers and plantation owners.

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on May 2, workers associated with Indonesian plantation company PT Malisya Sejahtera were engaged in harvesting activity and the destruction of vital crops despite being sued by the local community in PTUN Manado.

When the community from Tiberias Village, Poigar Sub-district, Bolaang Mongondow District, North Sulawesi Province protested this action, forces from Maleo Team from Polres Bolmomg came and destroyed the community houses, burned cottages, physically abused men and women of the community, and began shooting live ammunition into community houses.

By 2:30 p.m., between 40 – 50 community members were arrested by police and detained in Bolmomg Polres for defending their rightfully owned property farms and family members.

Images from the events show security forces in military garb engaged in forceful evictions as well as shell casings from shots fired during the event.

Rainforest Action Network condemns these actions and demands:
1) The immediate release of community members arrested for protecting their rightfully owned land, farms and houses;

2) An immediate investigation by Indonesian Government into any role that government security forces played in this action;

3) An immediate investigation into the role played by any corporation in supporting or paying for the security forces who carried out these horrific human rights violations

"This is nothing short of an outrage," said Tom Picken of Rainforest Action Network. "Violent corporate land grabs like this should be a thing of the past — yet they continue to this very day. Those responsible can no longer hide from accountability for these rampant human rights abuses. If companies — from Indonesia to the U.S.A. — are profiting from the fruits of these land grabs, then the world will know about it."

Photo credit: Walhi North Sulawesi

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