[The following is a translation of the text from the publication Pro-Democaracy Weekly sent to ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) by the Mega-Bintang-Rakyat Democratic Coalition. It was distributed widely in urban kampungs in a number of Indonesian cities - ASIET]


Yogyakarta students protest labour insurance corruption

On Friday, December 12, around five hundred students under the banner of the Generation of Yogyakarta Muslim Youths (Generasi Muda Muslim Yogyakarta, GMMY) held an action to protest the appropriation of Workers' Social Insurance (Jamsostek) funds used to fund the debate on labour regulations (1). The action began at 12.30pm after the students had finished Friday prayers at the University of Gajah Mada (Yogyakarta).

One by one the students presented their speeches which in essence demanded responsibility be taken by the Minister of Labour, Abdul Latief and parliamentarians who pushed through the legislation. In its statement, GMMY demanded that:

1. The Jamsostek case must be resolved legally, transparently and not covered up as a lesson so that there will be no repetition of this kind again;

2. The DPR (2) take responsibility for all forms of collusion which occurred and that the political parties recall their representatives in the DPR who were involved in the collusion;

3. The minister of labour resign as a moral responsibly to all workers participating in Jamsostek;

4. The government provide the space for political and economic reform to bring about a just life [for the Indonesian people].

(Source: Bernas)

Human rights day actions

Actions commemoration human rights day were held in major cities in East Java on December 10. In Semarang, the demonstration was coloured by the arrest of two students from a Perth (Western Australia) university, Stuart Muncton and Marry Little. They were arrested while recording a demonstration held by the Human Rights Activist Alliance (Aliansi Aktivis HAM) in front of the Diponegoro University Campus in Semarang. They were then questioned by a police officer from Jateng who asked to see their passports. After being questioned by police, the two students were taken to the Department of Immigration. They were intimidated by the military and eventually deported.

Meanwhile a student activist from the Catholic University of Sugiya-pranata in Semerang, Simon, is still being detained by the police. According to Lieutenant Colonel Drs. Dzainal Syaarif AA SH, Simon could be sentenced to between one and five years jail for putting up [overnight] foreigners without police permission.

In Purwokerto, hundreds of students from a number of institutions of higher education -- the Student Forum Concerned with Human Rights (Forum Peduli Hak Asazi Manusia, FOPED-HAM) -- held an action on Jalan HR Benyamin in front of the Jendral Sudirman University. The action featured a coffin with the writing "Human Rights are Dead in this Country".

Meanwhile in Solo, students calling themselves the Independent People's Committee of Upholders of Human Rights (Komite Rakyat Independen Penegak-HAM, KRIP-HAM) and the Surakata Youth Student Committee (Komite Pemuda Mahasiswa Surakarta, KPMS) held an action at the Surakata (Solo) National University, Wednesday (10/12). The demonstration was begun at 9am with the waving of posters criticising the New Order government.

The posters read: "The Human Rights Commission is not independent", "Human rights cannot be oppressed for any reason", "The 5 [repressive] political laws violate human rights", "human rights & democracy in Indonesia is empty talk", "For the sake of human rights, abolish the dual function of the military", "Examples of the impotence of human rights: Udin, Marsinah, Jamsostek, Wamena, 27 July" and so on.

They also rejected the DPR/MPR as it is a product of fraudulent elections and full of nepotism. (Source: Bernas)

Hunger strike protests invasion

Five Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) activists from Bandung (West Java) held a hunger strike at the office of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (in Central Jakarta) between 7 and 10 December. The action was to commemorate the Indonesian military invasion of East Timor.

By holding this action they showed that the Indonesian people do not agree with the Indonesian military occupation of East Timor. Because of this the East Timorese people must be free to decide if they want independence or to be part of another country. The action was also supported by the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Komite Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi, KNPD). In its supporting statement, Nur Hikmah, the secretary general of KNPD, also called on the Indonesian people to struggle against militarism.

500 PDI pro-Megawati members protest

On December 12, five hundred pro-Megawati Indonesian Democratic Party members held a street march from the Central Jakarta State Court. The action was a protest against the fraudulence in the court case by the Group of 124 (3) against Soerjadi (4). Through this [experience] they came to understand that law in Indonesia is only a tool of the authorities. That the law is not a means to uphold justice. For the length of the march the five hundred people chanted: "There is no justice" and "Nominate Megawati for President". Hundreds of soldiers and police watched over the action. They brought panzers, tear gas, semi-automatic weapons, riot shields, batons and so on.

Traders battle the military

Hundreds of street traders in Medan, North Sumatra, battled with troops. In the fight which lasted two hours the traders united with students. The cause of the battle was that the traders were arbitrarily evicted. They were treated as illegal traders. The soldiers brutally beat the traders, evicted them and tore down their stalls.

Seeing this arbitrary action students arrived to help the traders. Keeping tightly together the traders and students resisted the troops. The result of the riot was scores of cars and shops were burn and a number of people injured.

Drivers battle against traffic police

Almost one thousand driver in Kendari, Central Sulawesi, united with students to resist the traffic police. This action was taken because the drivers were sick of the police who continue to arbitrarily extort money from the drivers. As a result, scores of police guard posts and cars were destroyed and burnt by the masses. A number of shops and other cars were also destroyed.

Translators notes:
1. In late November, a huge row has broken out about the appropriation of some 3.1 billion Rupiah by the Minister of Labour, Abdul Latief, from the social security agency Jamsostek to give hospitality and bribes to members of Parliament to enact new controversial labour laws.

2. DPR: Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, Peoples Representative Assembly (Parliament). Consisting of 500 members, 425 elected from the three officially recognised political parties during the general elections: Golkar (the state party), the United Development Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party. The remaining 75 members are appointed by the president from the military (who are not allowed to vote).

3. Group of 124 (Kelompok 124): A group of pro-Megawati Sukarnoputri Indonesian Democratic Party members who were injured during the July 27, 1996 attack on the party's headquarters in Central Jakarta.

3. Soerjadi: Installed by the government as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party to replace Megawati Sukarnoputri at a "special" congress in June 1996.

[Translated by James Balowski, ASIET Publications and Information Officer]

James Balowski Mon, 22 Dec 1997

Back to the main index