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Call to action: West Papuans blockade Freeport mine

Free Papua | 25.02.2006 16:08 | Ecology | Globalisation | Repression | World

This is a call out we received, to act in solidarity with West Papuan tribal peoples and the defense of the Earth.

The Freeport mine in West Papua has been shut down by local Papuans since
Tuesday. Over 400 Papuans are blockading the road to the mine and the
pipelines have ben sabotaged making the local river system run clean for
the first time in 30 years!

This is in response to an attack by police on Tuesday who shot at local on
Freeport land trying to remove them. One of those attacked has now died in
hospital. The locals are now declaring they will keep the mine closed
until Indonesia and Freeport leave West Papua. There are also reports of
sabotage inside the mine itself by Papuan employees whilst Papuan students
in Jakarta showed solidarity by invading the Freeport offices there and
smashing the windows and the offices. 13 students have been arrested.

This is an amazing response by the Papuans. There is fear of reprisals by
the army and police and fear of torture for those arrested. You can show
solidarity with the Papuans by phoning Freeport/RTZ offices or phoning the
police and army in Jakarta and/or Timika (the Freeport area). Show them
the world is watching and demand that force not be used against the

Freeport and RTZ contact details follow, also a press release with a
statement from Benny Wenda the Chair of DeMMaK:

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. - Give them a call:
Richard Adkerson

Mr. Adkerson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeport-McMoRan
Copper & Gold Inc. He also serves as Co-Chairman, President and Chief
Executive Officer of McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR).
1217 Burgundy St., NOLA. Ph# 504-529-7508
Lynne Cooney

Vice President, Assistant to the Chairman
333 Girod St., NOLA. Ph#504-596-6598
Dean T. Falgoust

General Counsel and Vice President, Legal and Tax
9631 Garden Oak Ln., River Ridge. Ph# 504-737-0440
Mark J. Johnson

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Operations
1410 Rue Bayonne, Mandeville. Ph#985-727-1578
Stanley Batey

Senior Advisor, Social and Community Development
9635 Garden Oak Ln., River Ridge. Ph#504-305-4710
George D. MacDonald

Vice President, Exploration
1334 Rue Bayonne, Mandeville. Ph#985-674-1619
D. James Miller

Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Safety
9 Golf Villa Dr., NOLA. Ph#504-433-4134
Kathleen L. Quirk

Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Finance and
Business Development
4816 St. Charles, NOLA. Ph#504-891-2194
PT Freeport Indonesia
Michael J. Arnold

Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President, Planning and
Management Development of PT Freeport Indonesia
61 Chateau Palmer Dr., Kenner. Ph#504-461-5878
Richard E. Coleman

Senior Vice President, Operations of PT Freeport Indonesia
1708 Pailet Ave., Harvey. Ph#504-368-9430

RIO TINTO LONDON (Part owners of Freeport mine)
Rio Tinto plc
6 St James's Square
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7930 2399
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7930 3249


PRESS RELEASE: 23rd February 2006

‘My people urgently need the world’s help’ says Papuan tribal leader.

The Freeport Mine in West Papua – the biggest gold and copper mine in the
world – is today in a state of chaos, as Indonesia soldiers reportedly use
tear gas and live rounds to attack protesting tribal people. Reports from
inside West Papua suggest that at least one person may have been killed.

Last month, West Papua made the news when a ‘lost valley’ containing
numerous new species was discovered. This week, its people are suffering
brutally – it needs to make the news again.

On Tuesday, paramilitary police used rubber bullets to disperse local
people who were scavenging on the corporation’s tips for waste gold. Since
their land was taken from them by Freeport, such scavenging has been their
only way of making a living. A crowd of 500 people gathered to protest,
and blockaded the roads to the mine, shutting down its operations.

Today the mine remains closed – but reports from inside West Papua suggest
that up to 500 soldiers have moved in to disperse protesters with tear gas
and live rounds.

Papuan tribal leader Benny Wenda, who now lives in exile in Britain, says
that urgent action is needed now, before the situation gets worse.

'The Freeport Mining Company already has the blood of my people on its
hands', says Benny. 'The company must take responsibility for all the
deaths and pain it has caused since 1967, and it must withdraw from our

To interview Benny Wenda, or for further information, contact Paul
Kingsnorth, Press Officer, Free West Papua Campaign. 07970 077552.


· West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea. It is
currently occupied by Indonesia, whose soldiers have been responsible for
the deaths of at least 100,000 people there. The Free West Papua Campaign
exists to support the Papuan peoples’ struggle for freedom.
· US company Freeport McMoran has been operating in West Papua since 1967.
It has been implicated in widespread human rights and environmental
abuses. Recently it admitted having paid $US20 million to Indonesian
military and police officials between 1998 and 2004.

· Statement by Papuan leader Benny Wenda.

Statement by Benny Wenda
Chair of DeMMaK (The Koteka Tribal Assembly)
International Lobbyist in the UK for a Free West Papua
on situation at Freeport Gold Mine, West Papua
Thursday 23 February 2006

I write with great urgency and deep concern about the situation at the
Freeport Gold Mine in the Highlands of West Papua. In response to the
shooting of five Papuans three days ago by Freeport security officers and
Indonesian police, the local population have effectively closed down the
mine by blockading access roads. In the last few hours, the Indonesian
military have moved in; one protester is already reported dead.

For decades, my people have scavenged on rubbish dumps outside the
Freeport mine, hoping to glean any specks of gold overlooked by the
mechanical sorting process. Three days ago, five of these innocent people
were shot and badly wounded as Freeport tried to clear them off the dumps.
They are now in hospital in critical condition.

Outraged by the callous shootings, and determined to make a stand, local
people set up road blocks around the mine. This was a spontaneous
demonstration, fired by the frustration and anger of ordinary people
denied even the opportunity to pick over the rubbish left behind after the
illegal exploitation of their homeland. Freeport have temporarily
suspended mining operations, and around 400 people from seven different
tribal groups are now manning the roadblocks. Papuans who work in the mine
have gone on strike in solidarity with those protesting outside, and the
waters of the river Aikwa are flowing clean for the first time in years,
now that the mine’s waste pipeline is smashed.

But this cannot last: the mine is the biggest gold mine in the world; it
accounts for around a fifth of Indonesian GDP. Neither the Freeport
company nor the Indonesian government are going to stand back and watch
their profits shrink. Neither have a glowing record when it comes to human
rights, either. The Indonesian military have already arrived at the mine
and are firing gas at the protestors. One man has been shot and killed.

I am deeply concerned for the safety of my people. I feel responsible to
them all, and fear that this situation could easily turn in to a bloodbath
if the world does not watch very carefully. This is first and foremost an
issue of human rights, and the international community has an urgent duty
to protect the lives of my people.

The Freeport Mining Company already has the blood of my people on its
hands. The company must take responsibility for all the deaths and pain it
has caused since 1967, and it must withdraw from our land. Freeport and
the Indonesian military are, between them, creating a genocide in our
country. Until we have a free and independent West Papua, there is no
legal basis for any corporation to exploit our land, our resources or our

On behalf of the people of West Papua I am calling for
- urgent international attention to the situation at the Freeport gold
mine to prevent any further abuses of human rights
- public admission of responsibility for the shootings of innocent people
by the Freeport Mining Company and the immediate withdrawal of the company
from its illegal activities in West Papua
- the immediate withdrawal of Indonesian troops and authorities from their
illegal occupation of West Papua

Benny Wenda
Oxford, UK
23rd February 2006

Free Papua
- Homepage:


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Right back at you — Danny
  2. More info on West Papua — feb