The Jakarta Post
A number of female protesters cemented their feet in front of the State Palace on Tuesday in protest of a cement plant development by state-owned PT Semen Indonesia in their hometown in Rembang regency in Central Java.
The protesters reject the development of the cement firm in their town because it would cause environment problems and also threaten their earnings as farmers in Kendeng, a mountainous area in Rembang, Pati, Blora and Grobogan, tempo.co reported.
Teten Mastuki, chief of presidential staff, reportedly told the women to foil their plan to cement their feet, but the protesters ignored the demand.
Coordinator of the Mt. Kendeng Society Network (JMPPK), Joko Prianto, said that Teten met with the women had met with the women prior to the protest. “He (Teten) was worried about the plan and banned [the action],” Joko added as quoted by tempo.co.
Earlier in the morning, the protesters had expressed their concern over potential environmental damage, saying that the plant could contaminate water and degrade their livelihoods, a representative from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) said.
“Those nine women are frustrated and want to meet President Joko Widodo,” LBH Jakarta lawyer Yunita said, adding that they would keep holding the demonstration until they had secured a meeting with the President.
Rembang residents from 14 sub-districts have held similar rallies since 2013 in protest of the cement plant development in Watu Putih. Environmentalists have estimated that potential water loss could reach figures of up to 51 million liters.
The company, however, plan to proceed with the construction project.
The construction process began in June 2014 and the plant is expected to start production this year. The new plant will produce three million tons of cement each year. (vps/bbn)
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