Indonesia: Campaign for mining nationalisation continues

Below is a compilation of reports from the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) and the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) about the campaign to recover Indonesia's national sovereignty, the main focus of which has been a series of protests across Indonesia to demand the nationalisation of the mining industry.

In the third demonstration this year outside the Jakarta offices of ExxonMobil (the world's largest publicly-traded corporation), workers and their families queued up on March 12 queued up with empty bottles and jerry cans demanding the nationalisation of the foreign-owned mining and oil industry.

The protest was organised by the militation trade union federation, the National Front for Indonesian Workers' Struggle (FNPBI), which is an affiliate of Papernas.

In the East Indonesian island-town of Ternat, hundreds of students united on March 10 as the Coalition for Women's Concerns clashed with police in front of the North Mollucas Regional Assembly, during a protest to demand the nationalisation of mining companies operating in the area.

The coalition, initiated by the LMND, also demanded the government reduce the price of basic goods.

Five students were wounded, two of whom were badly injured and had to be taken to the hospital.

On the same day in the city of Makassar in Sulawesi, dozens of students from the LMND protested in front of mining company PT Inco's office to demand nationalisation of oil, gas, and mining companies in Indonesia.

PT Inco's operational plant in Sorowako, South Sulawesi, is notorious for creating land and water pollution, ecosystem damage and carrying out forced land evictions — causing impoverishment and creating health problems among local communities.

In their statement, the students demanded that the government have the courage to nationalise the company, or at least to renegotiate the contract of work to bring more benefit to the people of South Sulawesi that in turn can be used to fund development, particularly education.

Other actions include a Papernas-organised demonstration of 300 students and poor farmers to nationalise mining in Maumere. A Papernas-organised protest also occurred in Palu City in South Sulawasi around the same demand, which also focused on the problem of power blackouts and fuel shortages in the area.

Students from the LMND also held a protest in North Sumatra on March 3. The LMND is also demanding the repeal of the government's neoliberal education laws and arguing that, if the mining industry was nationalised, the funds could provide quality, free education for everyone.