Dozens of Indonesians sew mouths shut in deforestation protest

JAKARTA (BNO NEWS) -- A group of Indonesian protesters have sewed their mouths shut in a protest against deforestation which took place in front of the parliament's House building in the capital of Jakarta this week, the Jakarta Globe reported on Thursday.

Ten more people sewed their mouths shut on Wednesday, joining other protesters who did the same on Monday and Tuesday. The protesters from "Communication Forum to Save Padang Island" are demanding the government revoke a permit issued for a paper company to clear forest which has been categorized as an industrial plantation forest.

Before Wednesday's protest, eight people sewed their mouths shut on Monday and another ten did the same on Tuesday. Some of the protesters' conditions have weakened because they have not been able to eat, according to reports.

House Speaker Marzuki Alie on Wednesday promised protesters that the House will request that the regional government solves the problem. "Don't sew your mouths shut because you cannot eat, work and it's useless," he told the protesters, as quoted by the newspaper.

The group claimed the company Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper cleared land during its operation that has made local people worry about the possibility of erosion caused by deforestation.

Indonesia has one of the world's fastest rates of deforestation. As the world's third largest forest area - behind Brazil and Congo - Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed earlier this year a Presidential Instruction on deforestation moratorium to fight climate change impacts and preserve the remaining tropical forests and its biodiversity.

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