May 15, 2016 - 1:10 AM EDT
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12 activists detained for blocking Japan-funded power plant

Indonesian police have detained 12 environmental activists after they blocked the supply of coal to a Japan-funded power plant on the northern coast of Java Island, conservation organization Greenpeace Indonesia and local media reported Sunday.

According to the reports, the activists climbed the cranes of two grab-type ship unloaders to block the supply of coal for the power plant in the town of Cirebon in West Java Province as part of the 12-day global wave of "Break Free" actions through Sunday, demanding that governments keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

Members of Greenpeace Indonesia, Friends of Earth and the Mining Advocacy Network managed to unfurl banners reading "Quit Coal" and "Clean Energy, Clean Air" from both cranes for almost 12 hours before police detained and brought them to the Cirebon police headquarters for questioning.

"Every new coal-fired power plant means elevated health risks for Indonesians. Lives, including those of children, are cut short due to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases," Arif Fiyanto, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia, said in a statement.

"Coal has a dirty history in Indonesia ranging from land grabs, violence against local communities, polluting our air and exporting climate change to the rest of the world. The time is now for ordinary Indonesians to show the government and foreign investors in our dirty coal industry that enough is enough," he added.

The 660-megawatt Cirebon power plant has been operating since 2012, and the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo plans to expand it by building a new 1,000-megawatt unit as a part of the national 35,000-megawatt power project by 2019.

Under the project, 60 percent of electricity will come from coal power plants.

The new unit of the coal-fired power plant has been promoted by PT Cirebon Energi Prasarana, a consortium involving Japan's Marubeni Corp. and Chubu Electric Power Co., South Korea's Samtan Co. and Korea Midland Power Co., and Indonesia's PT Indika Energy.

"President Jokowi has a choice: stay with a business-as-usual approach to generate electricity and see the lives of thousands of Indonesians cut short or lead the rapid transition to safe, clean, renewable energy," Arif said.

"It is unthinkable for the government to expand fossil fuel projects following the Paris agreement," he added, referring to a deal reached in the French capital last year that will create a long-sought framework committing all countries to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Sunday's action followed a rally in the capital Jakarta on Wednesday when thousands of people gathered to protest against coal projects in Indonesia.


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Source: News (May 15, 2016 - 1:10 AM EDT)

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