(en) Direct Action at Burmese Teak Importer!!

EarthCulture (earthcul@nr.infi.net)
Tue, 1 Jul 1997 22:03:36 -0400 (EDT)

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EarthCulture Update: July 1, 1997 * If you have a publication & would like to reprint this- feel free! Please send us a copy. Photos are available. *

Activists Swarm Major Burmese Teak Importer! Wilmington, NC

On July 1, about twenty environmental and human rights activists from all over North Carolina descended upon one of the US' leading importers of Burmese teak. One activist chained himself to the large Dean Hardwoods, others blocked the entrance and gathered in front of Dean's headquarters holding banners reading, "Dean's Making a Killing with Burmese Teak," and "Stop the Tropical Chop!"

"I am not leaving until Dean Hardwoods stops stealing teak from the Burmese people," said EarthCulture's Rick Spencer, who chained himself to the sign. "Commercial rainforest logging is destroying the planet's most important ecosystems, and the cutting of woods like teak, mahogany, and lauan are even costing people's lives."

Burma is the source of the majority of internationally traded teak. A military coup in Burma in 1962 began a reign of terror and oppression that continues today. In 1988, the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) gunned down thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in a massive protest. Continued protests brought about general elections. Though the SLORC only received 2% of the vote, they refused to yield power. The SLORC generals use forced labor, rape, torture, forced relocation and intimidation to control the people of Burma. Cases of forced labor have been documented by the SLORC in logging operations.

Burma is home to the world's last primary teak forests and some of the last ancient rainforests remaining in mainland Asia, but are now being liquidated to fund the SLORC's rule. These forests are home to rare species such as the Asian Rhino, Asian Elephant and others. In the US, teak is used for indoor and outdoor furniture, interior trim, boat trim & decking and small consumer items like spice racks, salad bowls and napkin holders.

Dean eventually agreed to meet with members of EarthCulture and the North Carolina Free Burma Coalition, but no compromise was met. No arrests occurred. We got coverage from all of Wilmington's TV stations, which carried throughout their affiliates statewide, at least one newspaper, and a few radio stations.

EarthCulture, along with a handful of other US environmental and human rights groups, has revamped a boycott on all unsustainable rainforest woods and the teak boycott in particular has gained the support of Burma's rightful leader. This action kicks off Rainforest Relief's international Teak Week of Action which will see similar protests in the US, Thailand, and England.

For more imformation about this event, the rainforest woods boycott, or Burma, please contact us. We are always looking for people to hold demonstrations or informational tables in their area!

_________________________________________________ EarthCulture PO Box 4674 Greensboro, NC 27404 Phone & Fax: 910-854-2957 e-mail: earthcul@nr.infi.net

*** CHECK OUT our new webpage! *** http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/3294 _________________________________________________

STOP THE TROPICAL CHOP! Use sustainable or recycled wood products- or simply reduce your wood consumption.

Rainforests are the home to 50% of the world's species & 50,000 indigenous peoples. By boycotting rainforest woods- like mahogany, teak, lauan, & ramin, you can help save our most important ecosystems!

We need action in your area!! Contact us for our FREE Rainforest Woods/ Wood Reduction Action Pack!

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