Archipelago

Batang Toru district office
empty after demonstration

A member of the military stands by a wrecked vehicle after a demonstration in Batang Toru district, South Tapanuli, in North Sumatra on Tuesday. The violent demonstration was in opposition to disposal of mining waste in the local water supply. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

Batang Toru district office in South Tapanuli, North Sumatra, was closed on Wednesday following a violent protest by residents who oppose the construction of waste pipeline by a mining company.

Thousands of Batang Toru residents who are against the installation of waste pipeline by gold mining company PT Agincourt Resources, attacked the district office and the police station.

Hotma Harahap, Batang Toru district head, quoted by tribunnews.com, described the state of his office. “We cannot work today because our office is badly damaged. The mob smashed the windows and burned the office’s facilities,” he said.

Two cars parked outside the office were also destroyed.

“The district officers came to the office this morning to clean it up. But after that, I asked them to go home,” he added.

Hotma is awaiting instructions from the South Tapanuli regent whether or not the office should be temporarily relocated.

The Batang Toru Police precinct was also stoned and a police car smashed up by the angry protesters, who wish to prevent the construction of the pipeline from a mine in Martabe to the Batang Toru river.

The protesters also blocked the main road connecting Batang Toru to other areas.

No casualties have been officially reported in the clash, but at least three protesters and several police officers were injured. (lfr)

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