By Mark Church:
Indonesian police kill three protesters during anti-mine protest
29 December 2011
Indonesian police have killed at least three protesters on the island of Sumbawa. The latest crackdown to protect mining interests is reported to have led to about 20 people wounded, including 9 critically, and 36 people arrested after local police attacked an unarmed crowd on December 24.
Video footage of the shooting was aired on Indonesian media, showing police firing into the air while an officer and other soldiers fired into the nearby crowd. The graphic footage also featured police beating and arresting terrified protesters.
The protest took place at the small port town of Sape, on the island of Sumbawa east of Bali, which is part of the province of West Nusa Tenggara. Sape is the key port for ferry crossings to the neighbouring island of Flores.
The protesters were part of the Anti-Mining People’s Front, which had blockaded the port from December 19 to protest against mineral exploration in the area. Australian Arc Exploration (ARC) and PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN) are surveying for a future gold mine. The protesters consisted mainly of local farmers and fishermen who feared that mining activity could damage the local ecosystems and their livelihoods. They demanded the revocation of the two companies’ exploration rights.
Authorities initially sought to justify firing into an unarmed crowd.
See also here.