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Protest Stops Cranes At Indonesia's APP Paper Port

Date: 27-Nov-09
Country: INDONESIA
Author: Sanjeev Miglan

JAKARTA - Environmental activists shut down four cranes at port run by one of Asia's biggest pulp and paper groups on Indonesia's Sumatra island, but overall operations were not hit, the company said on Thursday.

Greenpeace activists have targeted logging and paper firms in Indonesia in recent months to draw attention to the role that deforestation plays in global warming in the lead up to global climate talks in Copenhagen in early December.

Twelve Greenpeace protesters on Wednesday climbed four cranes at a port in Riau province, Sumatra, that is used to export paper produced by PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, a unit of industry giant Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).

The activists unfurled a banner that read "Forest Destruction: You can stop this." The last activist was taken down by police at around 9am on Thursday morning.

"Deforestation is one of the roots of the climate crisis. We are shutting down the exports of one of the world's largest pulp mills at the frontline of forest destruction to tell our elected leaders that they can - and must - pull us back from the brink of catastrophic climate change," Greenpeace campaigner Shailandra Yashwan said in a statement.

At least 18 activists, including 12 foreigners, were detained by Riau police, said a Greenpeace spokesman, Martin Baker.

Aida Greenbury, Asia Pulp & Paper's director of sustainability, said that exports were not disrupted.

"People had to stop work on the cranes that were affected because of potential danger to our staff, so yes, they were disrupting those cranes but we have so many working there it wasn't really affecting operations at all," she told Reuters.

Greenbury said about 1 million tonnes of paper made from trees drawn from Riau and Jambi provinces are exported every year from the port. She said that APP was setting aside parts of its logging concessions in Sumatra for conservation and potential future carbon offset programs.

Greenpeace said purchasers of APP's paper products include Vogue, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Marc Jacobs. Greenbury declined to confirm this.

APP is part of the Sinar Mas group, a conglomerate owned by Indonesia's Widjaja family.

Greenpeace's protest follows a demonstration in Riau's Kampar Peninsula, where activists chained themselves to heavy machinery operated by another industry giant, Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd (APRIL).

(Editing by Sara Webb and Sanjeev Miglani)

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