Farmers' opposition set in concrete

By AP

The farmers protest has involved encasing their feet in concrete. Photo / AP
The farmers protest has involved encasing their feet in concrete. Photo / AP

About 50 farmers and activists opposed to a cement factory in Indonesia's Central Java province have encased their feet in concrete during a days-long protest in Jakarta.

Farmers in the village of Kendeng have battled against plans for the factory for years, saying it could taint their water. The factory is almost complete and the owner, state-owned Cement Indonesia, says it will create jobs and boost the local economy.

The ongoing protest was overshadowed this week by the death of one of the women involved. A legal aid foundation supporting the protesters said Patmi, 48, died of a heart attack on Tuesday.

Muhamad Isnur, a lawyer at the foundation, said the death of Patmi, who went by one name, "won't stop us. On the contrary, it will magnify our movement."

Anis Maftuhin, who said he represents the majority of Kendeng people who support the factory, defended it as a better alternative to mining the Karst mountains in the area.

He said Cement Indonesia has built a water retention basin and helped secure clean water supplies.

But Isnur said the mining was only traditional and small-scale and the factory could jeopardise the water supply far beyond the mountain villages.

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