Tens of personnel from the local police and Aceh provincial government's public order agency secured the rally. The protesters, who referred to themselves as "the Independent Gayo Students" echoed their aspirations through the banners they carried, several of which read: "Do not betray" and "Say no to mining activities in Gayo".
Demonstration Coordinator Sutris said the mining company's presence in the Linge area of Gayo hinterland would damage the environment and not benefit the locals.
"Therefore, we demand that the Aceh governor should not issue a permit to the mining company to exploit the gold resources of Linge, a historical site of the Linge Kingdom," he said.
If the provincial government issues the permit, the river water passing through Linge toward the eastern coastal areas of Aceh Province would be polluted, he said, adding that the Aceh governor should also issue a moratorium policy on mining.
"The moratorium policy is important for the environmental preservation and sustainability of Aceh Province because (gold) mining activities are not beneficial to the people of Aceh, including those in Central Aceh District," he said.
Local people and environmentalists in Indonesia have repeatedly been protesting against mining activities.
In 2017, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), for instance, had even urged President Joko Widodo to issue a moratorium on lead mining in Bangka Belitung Province for the sake of the safety and sustainability of the province's environment.
As revealed in its news bulletin (Oct 25, 2017), Walhi argued that lead mining activities on land and in the sea have caused several significant effects, including deforestation, degradation of forests, and damage to coastal and marine ecosystems.