Sumbawa’s golden days
Thousands of protesters rioted on Thursday in Bima, Sumbawa – 1,330km east of the capital, Jakarta – where they set fire to the district head’s office to demand an end to the gold exploration plan, which they said would damage their land and livelihoods.
The energy minister, Jero Wacik, told Reuters the mining permit would be revoked but the process would take time. The government’s decision to revoke the permit, however, may not be the boon protesters were fighting for, said Walhi‘s mining campaigner Pius Binting.
“The Indonesian government has many times made this promise in the past, saying they want to protect the environment, but then their policies still continue,” he said. “For example, they said they would stop mining in national parks, but then they changed the status of ‘national park’ to accommodate mining operations.”
“So we don’t believe their decision to revoke the permit, as we don’t believe it is an honest commitment by the government.”