Students and workers sustain demonstrations

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(photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO, Jakarta – Over the last 3 days, from 30 September to 2 October, demonstrations continued in Jakarta. On Monday (9/30/2019), a protest against the controversial bill continued in front of the Parliament building. The action was attended by several groups, including students who are members of the Indonesian Student Alliance (AMI) and labor groups. This demo is a continuation of the student action which took place on September 23-24. 

Students continue to insist on their seven demands they previously championed. One new point is related to their colleagues who were injured or died during the demonstrations. “So like the demands of the Land Bill, for the actual RKHUP… Then also the demands related to other bills have not changed,” said Elang, Head of the Strategic Studies Department at the University of Indonesia BEM (UI ). “Now maybe we can add also to our friends who fell. Now related to the P-KS Bill, some of the highlighted media reject it, in fact from UI we support the P-KS Bill to be ratified. The KPK has also not disappeared (its demands) because the perpppda has not been published yet,” explained Elang. 

To deal with this demonstration, the police have carried out several measures of security ranging from barbed wire to tactical vehicles. In front of the Parliament building, Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jakarta, barbed wire is placed across the road. As a result, no vehicular traffic may pass in front. 

Also, thousands of police personnel and tactical vehicles such as the barracuda and water cannon belonging to the police were alerted in the area in front of the Parliament building. The Jakarta Metropolitan Police itself deployed tens of thousands of joint personnel. 

The demonstration in front of the Parliament building that took place on 30 September 2019 ended in chaos after the mob pelted police with dangerous objects. This riot occurred at several points, namely behind the Parliament building, in front of the Parliament building, near the TVRI offices, and behind the BPK offices. 

To disperse the crowd, police fired tear gas. The riot on Jalan Gatot Subroto also took its toll: a policeman suffered an injured leg and had to be evacuated. 

Even though the riot ended the previous day, the students continued to protest. Now the Alliance of Indonesian Student Executive Board (BEM SI) is holding a demonstration around the Indonesian Parliament Building, Tuesday, October 1, 2019, to coincide with the inauguration of members of the Parliament, MPR, and DPD for the 2019-2024 Period. The action coordinator from Jakarta State University (UNJ), Abdul Baasyir, said the action was intended as an ultimatum to elected MPs. “The first to complete the reform, the second is to guard it. So today we will begin guarding so that the upheaval that occurs today will be repeated in the future,” he said. They urged that in the future, the Parliament would have to involve the Indonesian people when creating new laws. 

Also, BEM SI demanded accountability for three victims killed due to actions that took place in various areas, and victims died in the conflict in Wamena, Papua. “Today we came here, all the participants of the action brought flowers as a form of mourning for the fallen victims due to demonstrations and victims from conflicts in Wamena. As for Papua, in our opinion, the government failed to deal properly with the conflict. There was only a cover-up” said action spokesman Erfan Kurniawan. 

According to Erfan’, today’s action was attended by more than 5,000 students. They came from many campuses, such as UNJ, UPN Jakarta, UI, Siliwangi University, Unpad, UNS Surakarta, and other universities from outside Jakarta. 

Meanwhile, on October 2, 2019, around 40 thousand workers held a demonstration in front of the Parliament building, Senayan, Jakarta. There are 3 demands. First, Reject the revision of the Manpower Act. Second, reject the raise of BPJS contributions, and third, revision of PP No. 78 of 2015 concerning wages. 

The workers’ demonstration in Parliament only lasted about 3 hours. The crowd left Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jakarta, in front of Pulau Dua Restaurant at around 1.10 PM, Wednesday (10/10/2019). The crowd dispersed towards Jalan Pemuda Gate. Command cars also move with the masses. While dispersing, the masses sang action songs. Until 1:26 PM, there were no more mass actions at the location, while police remained on standby. (dsy)