Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Climate defenders to stay – Police reverse eviction order under pressure from communities by Chuck Baclagon

What an amazing day we have had here in Indonesia today…

Community supporters arrived by the hundreds. ©Will Rose/Greenpeace

In a surprising move, the chief of police of Pelalawan district has revoked yesterdays eviction order after 300 locals from nearby Teluk Meranti village turned up at the camp this morning to show their support.

The eviction notice was delivered in response to pressure from climate criminals after pulp and paper giant APRIL’s operations were stopped by Greenpeace activists for over 10 hours on Thursday. An action which was strongly supported by local communities.

“We want Greenpeace to stay in this camp as long as possible. Their presence in Semenanjung Kampar is really helping us to protect this forest from destruction,” said Suwandi, a school teacher in Teluk Meranti, “If in the future Greenpeace is forced to leave Kampar, we demand that APRIL should also get out of Kampar” he added.

This is a major win for the dedicated team of climate defenders who have been in the camp for the past few weeks, and for the local communities who must live with the impacts of deforestation and peatland drainage.

“We are overwhelmed and humbled by this extraordinary support from the people of Riau, it confirms our belief that the people of Indonesia wish their forests to be protected.” said Zulfahmi, of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“This is a very important signal to President Yudhoyono, that his people are willing to help him honor his ambition to reduce emissions from deforestation. He should take immediate action to prosecute those who are destroying forests, while protecting our forests, biodiversity and the people dependent on them.” he added.

The camp has been running for 3 weeks now. Its purpose is to bring urgent attention to the role that rainforest and peatland destruction play in driving dangerous climate change in the run up to the critical UN Copenhagen Climate Summit this December. During this time, our committed and passionate climate defenders have built dams, stopped excavators + unfurled massive banners in extreme conditions. It has been an intense and demanding few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian activists involved with Thursdays action have been released without charge. They have returned to the camp with orders to report to the police once a week for the next four weeks. The 11 international activists are being deported, and as I type, several of them are heading to the airport, with the rest to follow tomorrow.

Local community members with Rob, the camp leader and other climate defenders. ©Ardiles Rante/Grenpeace


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