Tropical timber protest in Austria

Issue 

Tropical timber protest in Austria

STOCKERAU, Austria — Greenpeace activists and about 20 Indians from Central and South America blockaded one of Austria's largest tropical timber importers on May 11. A huge model of a saw prevented trucks entering or leaving the site, and the protesters broadcast chainsaw noises.

The activists, some dressed as parrots, monkeys and wildcats, demanded a halt to Austria's annual imports of around 30,000 tons of tropical timber, which comes mainly from Brazil, Sarawak and Burma.

The Indians, involved in a march for justice through Austria, performed traditional dances to draw attention to human rights violations and rainforest destruction.

"In Brazil, mahogany is mainly logged in Indian reservations and nature protection areas", said Greenpeace's Martin Frimmel. "If the current logging continues, the rainforests in Sarawak will be gone in eight years at the latest, and the teak forests of Burma in about five years."

Under a voluntary agreement signed in 1990, Austrian timber companies are supposed to import timbers only from sustainable forestry industries, but they are not observing this agreement.

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