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Three Killed in Aussie Mine Protest

Three Killed in Aussie Mine Protest

Friends of the Earth Australia

With three dead and nine critically injured, questions are being raised about the role of Australian owned company Arc Exploration after protesters over a planned goldmine, on the island of Sumbawa in eastern Indonesia, were attacked by Indonesian police.

The victims were among nearly 1,000 people in Lambu village in West Nusatenggara province trying to stop the goldmining project by Arc Exploration and its Indonesian partner, PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara. The villagers fear the project will destroy their land and threaten forests and water resources.

“The shooting of peaceful protestors is completely unacceptable anywhere in the world, but with an Australian company involved because of its mining operation, it is imperative that the Australian Government step-in immediately to help calm the situation and ensure no more people are killed,” said Derec Davies of Friends of the Earth Australia.

“Foreign Minister Rudd must respond and investigate the role of Arc Exploration and its dealings with the Indonesian National Police, which has responded so violently against the peaceful protest at the Sape Harbor over the Bima Gold Mine project.”

“Indonesian police attacked on Christmas Eve, and three days later, questions and concerns from locals go unanswered.”

It is unfortunate that after the police shootings, protestors responded by taking up weapons and petrol bombs. Sadly however the video footage by local media shows unarmed protestors being shot by security forces. While the Indonesian Government has said it will ‘evaluate’ the police response, it is clear that the police exceeded the use of necessary force to calm the situation. Their actions have inflamed the situation.

“Friends of the Earth is a global organization and we work with local communities to support their peaceful non violent environmental struggles. We are appalled by the response of the Indonesian police,” said Davies. “The community was protesting against environmental damage caused by the mine. No Australian company should be complicit in any way in this level of violence. It is unacceptable in Australia and shouldn’t be acceptable in Indonesia.”

“Many tourists to Bali visit the island of Sumbawa. The company has been a trusted partner of locals. But with the problems of the Bima gold mine that trust has turned to outrage. The locals of Bima demand more, and so should Australians of our companies operating in the area."

"Foreign Minister Rudd must step in now and call a halt to Australian operations of Arc Exploration in the Bima area. Halting the mine operations will allow police to pull out and calm to settle. Foreign Minister Rudd is responsible for calling on Chairman Mr Bruce Watson to explain his companies involvement. Australian shareholders have the right to know what is going on.”

“The first killings were on Christmas eve, yet the ‘battle of Bima’ continues. The current violent response is at Pelabuhan Sape Bima. The community is outnumbered by heavily armed national police, which is being supported by the military.”

“During this time of holiday peace, we call upon Arc Exploration to halt operations and the Australian Government to intervene to halt the unnecessary and forceful action,” continued Davies.

For more information, click here.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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