Satya Bumi Public Environmental Discussion Hampered by Infiltrator
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Satya Bumi Executive Director Andi Muttaqien on Thursday stated that efforts to forcibly disband public discussions are violations against freedom of expression. His statement came after a man today attempted to disperse a public discussion held by the environmental NGO that highlighted the Batang Toru hydropower project, which threatens the Tapanuli orangutan habitat.
"I didn't expect that there would be such a strong response to a discussion that actually presented balanced speakers. This is a violation of freedom of expression," he told Tempo on February 9.
Satya Bumi in collaboration with the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists (SIEJ) held a discussion entitled 'The Future of the Tapanuli Orangutan and the Batang Toru Ecosystem'. The discussion was scheduled to take place in the Tebet area, South Jakarta at 10:00.
However, just half an hour after it started, four unknown people attended the discussion and one person suddenly lashed out and called for a stop to the event. In a video that has spread, the person was visibly angry and insisted the discussion be stopped.
SIEJ Chairperson Joni Aswira said the perpetrators have infiltrated the discussion. One of the men, he said, claimed to be from Salemba, Central Jakarta, without explaining his origin in detail.
According to Joni Aswira, this incident caused tension that lasted approximately 15 minutes before the committee continued to calm down the person. Security officers were called-in eventually.
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