Indonesia: Parliament of the Streets demands free education and health care, housing for the poor

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Photos and text by Ulfa Ilyas

On August 25, 2009, a demonstration was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, organised by the Parliament of the Streets Alliance at the inauguration of newly elected members of parliament. The protesters demanded free education for all citizens, free health programs, employment and housing programs for poor people.

Henri Anggoro, a leader of the Poor People’s Union (Serikat Rakyat Miskin Indonesia, SRMI), which organises in the sprawling shanty towns, said that experience has shown that parliament ignores the interests of the people. "They only represent the interests of a handful of people, rather than representing the people who elected them", he said.

Anggoro challenged the new legislators to advance the political agenda of democracy instead of giving priority to the interests of a handful of elite and foreign parties. He demanded popular participation, particularly in policy making and the national budget.

The Parliament of Streets Alliance has begun organising local councils, which could become the embryo of a parliament of the people, Henri said.

[Ulfa Ilyas writes for Berdikari Online, visit]

Indonesia: The people vs neoliberalism

The anti-neoliberal street protests above took place in Indonesia throughout Indonesia's presidential election campaign in June-July 2009. While the IMF's favourite candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won, a widespread discussion about neoliberalism took place around the country. The photos were above taken by comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party of Indonesia, whose cadre were key organisers of these protests.