POLICE WARNS THE IBANS AS BLOCKADE CONTINUES
TATAU, BINTULU (22 November 2000): The 11 longhouses community in upper Tatau continuing with their blockade against the establishment of the pulp mill project of Borneo Pulp & Paper Sdn Bhd (BPP) despite of stern warnings of their possible arrests by the authorities.
Over a hundred native Ibans (men and women) stand vigil day and night to monitor if BPP is carrying out its illegal operation within the project area. They have set up camps on the road leading to the BPP’s pulp mill project site. The blockade remains strong and has gained support from the other neighbouring longhouses who are yet to be affected by the BPP forest plantation project.
Over the week, they have received all kinds of intimidation from the authorities and BPP. The police and government officers who visited the protest site were forcing them to open up the blockade. The police have given warnings to the Ibans to dismantle the blockade and disperse before stern actions will be taken against them. They were even told that their action is illegal and related to unlawful assembly.
On 20 November, the Ibans sent a letter to the Bintulu Divisional Resident Office clarifying their action for putting up the blockade as follows:
The copies of this letter were also sent to the Tatau District Office, Tatau Police Station and the BPP Office in Bintulu.