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Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta activists reject Central Java governor’s visit

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Tue, April 18, 2017   /   05:49 pm
Yogyakarta activists reject Central Java governor’s visit Standing up for their rights: Ahmad Haedar (right), an activist from rights movement Jogja Solidarity Against Cement Factory, conveys his group’s requests to Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo (left) during a rally in Yogyakarta on Tuesday. He asked the governor to stop the construction of state cement maker Semen Indonesia’s cement factory on Kendeng Mountain in Rembang, Central Java. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Around 25 activists from the rights movement, Jogja Solidarity Against Cement Factory, staged a rally on Tuesday to protest the visit of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo to the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) campus in Yogyakarta.

“Learning from the fighting spirit of the mother of Kendeng, Yu Padmi, who died in her struggle against the construction of the cement factory in Kendeng, we are here reject the visit of Ganjar, ‘the cement governor’,” rally coordinator Ahmad Haedar said on Tuesday.

Padmi passed away on March 21 after a week-long rally against the construction of the Rembang cement factory in front of the State Palace in Jakarta. At the rally, Padmi and several other female farmers from Kendeng, buried their feet in concrete blocks to show their resistance to the project. 

Pitra Hutomo, a female activist, asked Ganjar to cease mining activities on Kendeng Mountain, which could deplete water reserves in the area.  

“If the water resources here are depleted, can we drink cement?” she said. The activists showed posters emblazoned with various messages against the cement factory, such as “Stop the Confiscation of People’s Land”, “Reject Ganjar” and “Kendeng Lestari (Everlasting Kendeng)”.

The protesters later marched to the Wisma Kagama meeting hall and asked Ganjar, who was attending a seminar there, to meet with them. Disappointed by Ganjar’s refusal, the protesters later blocked the governor’s way as he left the building.

Haedar told Ganjar that by permitting the construction of the cement factory, the government would kill Kendeng residents because of the project’s impact on water resources and agricultural activities in the area. (ebf)