Anti-GM rice activists arrested in Jakarta

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Fifteen people from six countries were arrested today in
Jakarta (Indonesia) by Polda Jaya (the Police Corps of Jakarta Raya
Territory) for participating in a peaceful people’s gathering to
voice their protest against GM rice and call for saving the diversity
of local rice to ensure people’s food security.

 

The
demonstration, part of WORA (Week of Rice Action) that celebrates the
rice culture of Asia, was jointly organized by Koalisi Rakyat untuk
Kedaulatan Pangan (KRKP), Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA),
Gabungan Serikat Buruh Independen (GSBI), Front Mahasiswa Nasional
(FMN) and the Workers’ Union.

 

Those
arrested include Sarojeni Rengam (PAN AP, Malaysia ) and Rhoda Gueta
(Asian Peasants’ Coalition) and 13 others, all foreigners, from
Malaysia , Philippines , Korea , Thailand , India and Pakistan .

 

They
were present at the demonstration as observers and were waiting in
the bus, following the discussions between Ir. Anton Aprijantono, the
Minister of Agriculture (Indonesia), and the 300-400 demonstrators,
outside the Ministry, when they were suddenly forced to follow the
police car to the police station, and where at the point of writing,
they are still detained for the last five hours. They are being
charged with violating the immigration laws of the country and
contravening the “social” status of their visas.

 

Witoro
of KRKP said that this is an over-reaction by the police who had been
duly informed of the rally and the presence of international
delegates in it. The organizers of the demonstration stated that the
Indonesian police was abusing the people’s freedom of speech and
demanded that all arrested be released immediately without any
charge. (PAN AP)

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