Groups affiliated with the Australia West Papua Association will protest outside Rio Tinto's AGM in Melbourne on May 4 to highlight the company's involvement in corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction in West Papua.
A protest organiser, Tommy Clarke, said private security personnel and the Indonesian military guarding Rio Tinto's Freeport mine have killed more than 160 people in and around the mining area, but not a single person has been held to account for the killings. "Freeport is the largest taxpayer in Indonesia, however, the indigenous landowners are living in dire poverty", he added.
"The indigenous landowners have longstanding grievances with Freeport, but when the Papuan people voice such concerns they are met with routine intimidation and repression. So in solidarity, we must exercise our right to free speech, because this is a right the West Papuans don't have", Clarke said. The protest will be held at 8.30am at Sofitel Hotel, 25 Collins Street, in Melbourne.
In Sydney, West Papua solidarity activists will raise the Morning Star flag outside the Indonesian consulate on Maroubra Road, Maroubra, at 1pm on April 30. On March 23, the Morning Star flag was raised in front of the war memorial at Marrickville Town Hall in Sydney's inner-west by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle and Marrickville mayor Sam Byrne. The flag-raisings aim to build community support for Papuans' right to self-determination.
For more information, phone (02) 9690 2038 in Sydney or 0422 545 763 in Melbourne, or visit <http//www.freewestpapua.com>.
From Green Left Weekly, April 26, 2006.
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