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Jakarta Post

Arrested Greenpeace Indonesia activists released after two-hour interrogation

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 24, 2019   /   06:59 pm
Arrested Greenpeace Indonesia activists released after two-hour interrogation Greenpeace put up a banner that says "Good people choose good energy" at the Welcome Monument in the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. (Tempo/Imam Hamdi)

After being held in custody by the police, 10 Greenpeace Indonesia environmental activists who climbed to the top of two of the capital’s landmarks and unfurled banners that read #ReformasiDikorupsi (reform being corrupted) have now been released.

The protest actions took place at the Welcome Monument at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta and the Aerospace Monument in Tebet, South Jakarta.

The Greenpeace activists were arrested shortly after they were told to come down after spending several hours hanging on ropes attached to the statues.

Five activists who were on the Welcome Monument were questioned at Central Jakarta Police headquarters, while the other five who were on the Aerospace Monument underwent questioning at the South Jakarta Public Order Agency office.

Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Arie Rompas said they were allowed to leave the police offices at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, after two hours of interrogation.

“There was no proof that they had broken the law or had damaged [any landmarks],” he said as quoted by on Thursday.

“They were asked to sign statements saying that they would not repeat such actions. They can protest or voice their opinions in any other form, as long as [it is] in accordance with regulations,” he added.

Tebet Police deputy chief Adj. Comr. Rusdi Dalby previously confirmed that the activists were not charged for any legal violations.

“Just to answer some questions to determine whether they were [disrupting] public order,” he said, explaining why the police had detained them.

The banners the activists had hung over two of the busiest roads in Jakarta were seen clearly by perhaps millions of commuters that morning.

In response to the Greenpeace action, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the messages were addressed not only to the governor but also to everyone.

“It’s a message for people around the world, not only for Jakarta, not only for Indonesia, but for the whole of humanity,” he said.

Through a text message to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, Arie said that the NGO wanted to remind President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to prioritize tackling dirty energy issues and forest conservation.

Three days after taking the oath of office on Oct. 20, Jokowi introduced his new Cabinet.

“We chose today [Wednesday] to deliver our message as President Jokowi had just taken his oath of office three days ago and today is the announcement of the new Cabinet,” Arie said.

“We want to say to the elected President and the Cabinet members who will help the President prioritize [tackling] the dirty energy issue from the coal mining industry and to save our forests,” he added.

Greenpeace Indonesia highlighted data from 2014 to 2018 during which some 3 million hectares of land had been deforested to make way for various businesses.

Fossil fuels, particularly coal, still dominate the national energy supply, making up 58 percent of it.

“Deforestation and the massive use of fossil fuel are the biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia, despite the fact that Indonesia has ratified the Paris Agreement to decrease carbon emissions by 29 percent [if unaided] or by 41 percent with International aid by 2030,” Greenpeace said in a release.

The release also mentioned how Jokowi in his first term had failed to fulfill his promise to stop forest and peatland fires as 3.4 million hectares of land had burned between 2015 and 2018. The fires sent severe smog over Sumatra and Kalimantan and generated various other problems, while the industry owners who allegedly control the burned areas have not yet been punished.

Greenpeace is recognized for, among other things, its bold actions for publicizing its campaigns.

Last  year, six of its activists were also detained by the captain of the Stolt Tenacity tanker for staging a rally against forest destruction, particularly in Indonesia, which is the world’s largest producer of palm oil.

The ship, which was owned by the world’s biggest palm oil trader Wilmar International, was transporting crude palm oil from a refinery in Dumai, Riau, to Europe.

The six activists later arrested had managed to get to the top of a tank and unfurled banners that read “Save Our Rainforest” and “Drop Dirty Palm Oil” before getting caught by the tanker’s captain.