The police should not play with fire when dealing with land disputes between communities and oil palm companies, such as the dispute in Pulau Laut Tengah, South Kalimantan. The police should not have taken the side of the company, let alone allow itself to be used to intimidate the local community.
The police went too far when they summoned and searched for local figures during a protest at the South Kalimantan Regional Council. Pulau Laut Tengah farmers were protesting for the sake of their survival and livelihood, under threat because of Multi Sarana Agro Mandiri’s presence. Protests are lawful as long as they do not spiral into anarchy, as the constitution guarantees freedom of expression.
First published in: Tempo