Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

West Papua Solidarity - RTZ Plant blockaded

Photo: lock-on barrel on floorPhoto: close-up of lock-on

by Foul Beast 7:19pm Thu Oct 10 '02 (Modified on 11:43am Thu Oct 17 '02)

Anglesey Aluminiums on Holy Island, Anglesey, was today blockaded for nearly six hours by a group of 15 people making novel use of a clapped out mini van and a tripod. The action was in solidarity with the OPM - the Free West Papua Movement - and the people of West Papua as part of a week of action which has included the storming of the Indonesian Embassy earlier in the week.

The van, laden with two cement filled oil barrels was towed in at 8.30am before irrevocably and finally breaking down outside the main entrance to the aluminium smelting plant. Someone stuck their hand through a hole in the side panel and locked onto one of the barrels. The other barrel fell through a hole in the floor of the van, tyres deflated on account of their being slashed and another person stuck their arm in and clipped on. So that wasn't going anywhere for a while. A long tail back rapidly ensued.

Photo: Stop mining banner

Meanwhile a scaffold tripod went round the back entrance just in case anyone had sneaky ideas about slipping in or out that way. After a couple of hours the plant opened an unbeknown third narrow entrance, allowing light freight and traffic access, but larger, heavier vehicles were prevented from entering or leaving for another 3 1/2 hours. A large number of police arrived but no arrests were made, although a couple of people were harassed by police when trying to leave after the protest, and several people were followed to a local supermarket.

Anglesey Aluminium are 51% owned by Rio Tinto Zinc. Freeport Mine is the world's second largest copper mine and the largest proven gold deposit worth $40 billion. Indonesia gains 20% royalties from the mine at Mt Carstenz. This provides 47% of West Papua's Gross Domestic Product. The Joinond largest copper mine and the largest proven gold deposit worth $40 billion. Indonesia gains 20% royalties from the mine at Mt Carstenz. This provides 47% of West Papua's Gross Domestic Product. The joint owners, the US company Freeport McMoRan and British company Rio Tinto Zinc, gain 80%. The local Papuan receive no royalties yet their homeland is despoiled by mining operations such as these. West Papuans are also severely repressed by the Indonesian government. An estimated 300,000 people have been murdered since 1963.


Photo: Banner Photo: Meeting directors
Photo: Lorries queuing in road Photo: Protesters talking to police