10/07) On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of poor from the Indonesian Poor
Union (SRMI), mostly mothers and their children, came to ExxonMobil HQ
located on the capital's main street, Sudirman street. SRMI Jakarta
Chairperson, Hendri, said that Indonesia is actually a rich country
endowed with all kinds of natural resources enough to prosper its
people. "However, these resources do not reach the hands of people," he
added, "but instead were handed over by Yudhoyono and Kalla to foreign
capital owners, like ExxonMobil. Because they and some political
elites, like those in Golkar and Demokrat Party, are more willing to be
'lackeys' to foreign interests, the people must themselves move to
demand the nationalisation of foreign-controlled extractive sector."
Bilal Muhammad, LMND Jakarta Chairperson, supported the protest by saying that nationalisation has received wide support from various groups in the movement and has become common demand in student actions. Similarly, Desi Arisanti, Central FNPBI General Secretary spoke of the need for the people to monitor the inquiry into fuel price, because it can open the door to solve the 'intricacy' of current pro-foreign-interest energy policy.
The protest then moved to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office in one of Jakarta's business district, Kuningan. In front of KPK office, protesters sang revolutionary songs and yelled their demands. Rudi Hartono, one of LMND National Executives spoke: "If KPK previously succeeded in breaking through the parliament wall to snatch some Members of Parliament involved in cases of corruptions and bribes; now KPK has to prove itself capable of fighting corruption by monitoring and supervising all members sitting in the Fuel Inquiry Special Committee, which can easily be bought off." Roads to inquiry have often stopped halfway due to the betrayals of parties and political lobbies involving 'bribes' for the special committees. "Considering the inquiry is a matter of utmost importance, it is very regretful if it has to stop due to bribery. The inquiry must be carried out to the end and national sovereignty over natural resource must be upholded as stated on Article 33 of 1945 Constitution" he added.
KPK eventually received five representatives from SRMI and People Accuse Front (FRM) for a dialogue. However, using old excuses and cliches, KPK refused to sign an MoU to monitor and control Fuel Price Special Committee. According to Lalu Hilman Afriandi, FRM coordinator, KPK's refusal is evidence that KPK favors certain cases. "KPK has the courage to inquire into cases with small political consequences, but avoid big cases, especially those that will shake Yudhoyono-Kalla" he explained. The refusal made protesters yelled that KPK is "coward", "discriminate cases", "not for the people, and "Yudhoyono-Kalla's tool".
Indonesia: Clashes over student death after fuel protest arrest
JAKARTA, June 24:
Thousands of Indonesian protesters angered by a student demonstrator's
death after his arrest burned cars and hurled stones at police guarding
the Parliament after police attacked them with water cannon.
Participants in the demonstration in Jakarta also demanded that the government revoke a 30 percent fuel price increase imposed last month.
The dead student had been protesting the price hike. The protesters carried a fake coffin and pictures of Maftuh Fauzi, a 27-year-old student at the National University who had been among 100 fuel price protesters arrested May 24. He died in hospital last Friday, but there were conflicting reports about the cause of his death.
The Indonesian Doctors' Association was seeking clarification from Pertamina Hospital, which said Fauzi died of HIV/AIDS. Students say he was beaten by police and died of his injuries.
A National Human Rights Commission investigation concluded Tuesday that the police raid on Fauzi's university campus violated the students' rights and called for an independent autopsy for Fauzi, said commissioner Nur Kholis.
The protest started at Parliament. According to the student group LMND, hundreds of members mobilised by the Peoples Demand Front (FRM) began the action in the morning. They burnt rubber tyres outside of main entrance gates of House of Representative building and demanded government to immediately cancel fuel price rise and investigate the death of the student Maftuh Fauzi. At 2pm, thousands more from the Cross Generation Activist (Tali Geni) group joined the protest.
Police repeatedly used water canon against the protesters. Activists from FRM and Tali Geni rattled the gate of parliament. A side gate was brought down by the protesters. As the protesters tried to come into the House of Representative building, a violent clash between police and action took place. Many action participants were hit on their head, arm, and shoulders.
"We just want to enter the House building to persuade lawmakers to vote to question the government over its fuel price policy. We hope by using their right to inquiry, they can annul the government's fuel price hike policy," one of the leaders of the student protesters, Lalu Hilman Afriandi, told the Jakarta Post. A total traffic jam occurred along the Gatot Subroto Road during the clashes. An activist from IAIN Jambi, Arpi, was hit by a police patrol car. Police chased and arrested several student protesters.
Police later attacked students in two locations. One group had headed to Slipi-Grogol, West Jakarta, while another went to Jalan Sudirman, central Jakarta. Students at Sudirman tried to blockade main road in front of Atmajaya University. Jakarta Post reported that students and activists also protested at the Jalan Rasuna Said office of copper and gold mining company Freeport, demanding the government nationalize the company. The protesters halted the operation of TransJakarta buses serving the Kuningan-Ragunan route.
Later, a car was also set alight outside the Catholic Atmajaya University on one of the city's busiest commuter routes, snarling traffic for miles.
Indonesia's government raised gasoline pump prices by nearly 30 percent on May 23 because of the surging cost of oil and gas on the global market. The move triggered generally peaceful protests throughout the vast Indonesian archipelago, a nation of 235 million people. While the protests were taking place outside parliament, 233 of 360 parliamentarians inside the building voted for an inquiry into the government's fuel price policy.
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Sources: International Herald Tribune, Jakarta Post, LMND