Actions, demos, protests...

Indonesia Roundup #8 - March 27-April 2, 2006

, by INDOLEFT News Service, PRD

Students in Malang oppose foreign intervention

Around 500 students from the Peoples Opposition
Front (BOR) demonstrated at the Regional House of
Representatives (DPRD) and the Malang city hall in
East Java on March 27 calling on the government to
oppose foreign intervention in the economy.

BOR spokesperson Tino Rahardian said that foreign
domination is gripping Indonesia through capitalist
agents in the form of foreign companies and
transnational corporations to appropriate
Indonesia’s wealth. "Foreigners only exploit the
sweat of the Indonesian nation", he said in a
speech.

Rahardian gave as an example the agreements between
the political elite and PT Freeport Indonesia in
Papua, ExxonMobile in the Cepu Block and PT Newmont
in North Sulawesi. BOR he said is therefore calling
on the government to immediately withdraw the
operational permits for Freeport, ExxonMobile and
Newmont. (Tempo Interactive, 27/3/2006)

3,000 Sanyo workers go on strike in Depok

Around 3,000 workers from PT Sanyo Jaya Components
Indonesia in the Jakarta satellite city of Depok
went on strike on the morning of March 29. "We are
asking the company to implement article 46 of the
joint work agreement on periodic wage increases",
said the head of the Sanyo Indonesian Electronic-
Electric and Metal Trade Union Federation, Iswan
Abdulah.

"In earlier years these have always been met, [but]
this year, so far it has not been done", said
Abdulah. He added that the wage rises should take
effect on January 1 each year.

Abdulah said that the company was using the excuse
that internationally, PT Sanyo was currently
suffering losses of as much as 233 billion Yen. "The
company has in fact already submitted a proposal of
as much as US$21 billion to the Sanyo head offices,
but it’s not to be allocated for wage increases but
rather for rationalisation", said Abdulah. (Tempo
Interactive, 29/3/2006)

Sukoharjo workers reject labour law revisions

Actions by workers against revisions to the 2003
labour law continue with more than 5,000 workers and
factory employees in Sukoharjo, Central Java,
demonstrating at the DPRD on March 28. The
protesters, who want the revisions annulled - were
urging the people’s representatives to convey their
demands to the central government.

Sukoharjo DPRD speaker Wardoyo Wijaya said assembly
members supported the workers’ demands and promised
to struggle on their behalf. Wijaya said that the
new law would only benefit business and turn workers
into slaves. Despite the support of the DPRD
protesters remained unsatisfied asking that their
demands be conveyed immediately to the minister for
labour and transmigration. A similar action was
launched by hundreds of workers in Gresik, West
Java. (Liputan 6, 29/3/2006)

More protesters join hunger strike in Semarang

As of March 28, the number of hunger strikers
opposing land evictions from settlements in the
Cakrawala area of Semarang, Central Java, had
reached 21 people. Residents plan to continue the
action until the dispute is resolved without any
land evictions.

The plan to demolish residents’ homes follows a land
dispute over some 1.2 hectares of land with a
foundation owned by the Islamic mass organisation
Muhammadiyah. Some 200 families had built homes and
been living on the vacant land since 1988. Residents
initially won an appeal in the Supreme Court however
after a review the decision was later overturned in
favor of the foundation. (Liputan 6, 29/3/2006)

Yogyakarta workers call for pro-foreign government
to resign

A demonstration by thousands of workers opposing
planned revisions to the labour law that was held in
Central Java city of Yogyakarta on March 29, has
called on the pro-foreign government to resign.

The action by the Yogyakarta Worker Alliance (ABY)
began at the Yogyakarta Monument followed by a march
to the DPRD, the local governor offices, Jl.
Malioboro and ending at the Agung Building.

In a speech at the DPRD, in addition to opposing the
labour law revisions they also called for the
overthrow of the pro-foreign government. "We don’t
want workers’ labour to just be exploited after
which they are discarded and tossed aside. We have
the right to demand wage increases as well as
benefits and health allowances", exclaimed ABY
secretary general Tigansolin.

They also demanded the repeal of a presidential
decree on policies to improve the investment
climate, a wage increase of 100 percent, opposition
to mass dismissals and the called for the
dissolution of foreign donor institutions.
(Detik.com, 29/3/2005)

Thousands of workers in Bandung oppose labour law
revisions

On March 20, some 4,000 workers from a number of
textile and garment industries in the West Java
provincial capital of Bandung took to the streets to
oppose revisions to the labour law. The workers -
who came from the regencies of Cimahi, Bandung,
Majalaya and Cisalengka - marched to the offices of
the provincial government and the West Java DPRD to
convey their demands.

The protesters held speeches and repeatedly sang the
song "Hello Hello Bandung. A number of trade union
flags were displayed and they brought posters with
messages such as "Oppose the draft law on labour
now“and”The draft law on labour is the mass murder
of workers or the National Crusher Body".
(Detik.com, 29/3/2006)

Candidate civil servants protest by sleeping on road

Protests against the acceptance of candidate civil
servants have taken place in several parts of the
country. In Mamuju, West Sulawesi for example,
dozens of residents took action by sleeping on the
main road. They were disappointed because initially
they had been told they had passed the civil service
exam only to later find their names had been
removed.

The action, which was organised by residents from
the Joint Forum (Forbes), called on the DPRD and the
local government to explain the reasons for the
cancellations.

Meanwhile, hundreds of assistant teachers from
Balikpapan in East Kalimantan demonstrated at the
city government offices. The teachers said they were
disappointed because they had loyally served the
government for decades yet not one of them had been
accepted as a civil servant.

A similar action took place in Semarang where
protesters from the Movement for Regional
Transparency (GUTR) went to the offices of the East
Java governor to demand the resignation of the heads
of the civil servant acceptance committee.
Protesters said the officials were responsible for
the elimination of 2,801 honorary workers in the
civil servant selection process. (Liputan 6,
30/3/2006)

Lhokseumawe residents protest over direct cash
assistance

As many as 200 residents from the sub-district of
Banda Sakti demonstrated at the Lhokseumawe DPRD in
North Aceh on March 30. The protesters, the majority
of which were women, said that the distribution of
direct cash assistance had not reach those who need
it. The majority of recipients were well off while
the poor had been neglected.

Members of the DPRD who met with the protesters
promised to seek an explanation from the Central
Bureau of Statistics and the Lhokseumawe government.
Similar complaints had earlier been made by
residents from eight villages in the Lhokseumawe
area who also said the assistance to compensate for
recent fuel price hikes had missed its target.
(Liputan 6, 31/3/2006)

Bandung students oppose ’enforced leave’

Dozens of students from the Bandung Islamic
University held a protest on March 31 by setting
fire to tyres and blockading the road in front of
their campus. The students were protesting plans by
the university rector to suspend 20 students that
have been unable to pay their university fees. The
students were calling on the university to put
forward the time limit for payment of tuition fees
until final semester exams. (Tempo Interactive,
31/3/2006)

Yogyakarta students demonstrate against foreign
intervention

Dozens of students in Yogyakarta demonstrated on
April 1 against foreign intervention in the
management of natural resources in Indonesia. The
protesters said that this intervention is a new form
of the colonialism. The protest was held shortly
after a visit to Indonesia by British Prime Minister
Tony Blair.

Demonstrations against Blair also took place in the
city of Serang in Banten where protesters said that
Blair and US President George Bush are the
ringleaders behind the outbreak of war in Iraq.
(Liputan 6, 1/4/2006)

Workers in Semarang oppose planned labour law
revisions

Hundreds of workers demonstrated in front of the
official residence of the Central Java governor in
Semarang on April 1. The workers were demanding that
the government pay attention to their welfare and
expressed their opposition to the planed revisions
to the labour law. The protest was not held at the
DPRD as is normal because it was a holiday and
government offices were closed. (Liputan 6,
1/4/2006)

Rights activists demand release of death-row
convicts

Hundreds of people from the National Alliance for
the Release of Tibo and Friends protested at the
State Palace in Central Jakarta on April 1. They
were demanding that President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono (SBY) release three death row conflicts
from Poso - Pabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and
Marinus Riwu.

The protesters brought banners reading “Free Tibo”,
“Investigate the Mastermind of the Poso III Riot”
and "The Lives of Tibo, Riwu, Da Silva are in the
hands of President SBY".

Budiman Sudjatmikio, a politician from the
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said "I’m
not from Flores, I’m a Christian, but I offer [my]
solidarity to Tibo", while asking the president to
grant amnesty to the three.

The National Alliance is made up of the Muslim
Social Alliance Defenders of Truth (AMMPK), the
Institute for Public Research and Advocacy (Elsam),
Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial), the
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of
Violence (Kontras), the Flabamora Community of
Indonesia, Patma Indonesia and the Jakarta Legal Aid
Foundation. (Tempo Interactive, 1/4/2006)

Shop employees in West Java demonstrate

On the morning of April 1, around 50 employees from
Toko Serba Ada Yogya in Cirebon, West Java,
demonstrated at the shop’s parking lot against plans
to disband their trade union.

According to one of the shop’s employees, Burhan,
the action was held as an act of solidarity in
support of five employees who are also the heads of
the Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers
Union for the shop who had been transferred without
clear reasons.

"It appears that they were transferred because
[they] persisted in defending employees who were
arbitrarily dismissed by the management", said
Burhan. The demonstration ended after the regional
manager of the shop promised to pay attention to
their grievances and that protesters would not incur
any sanctions. (Tempo Interactive, 1/4/2006)

Workers Alliance challenges labour law revisions

Actions opposing proposed revisions to the labour
law continue to role on. On March 1 hundreds of
workers from the Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM)
held demonstration at PT Kawasan Berikat Nusantara
in North Jakarta.

In speeches protesters said revisions to a number of
articles will severely damage workers by removing
employers’ obligation to provide protection, welfare
and health benefits to workers and drastic
reductions in severance pay. (Liputan 6, 1/4/2006)

Vice presidential visit to Bogor marred by
demonstration

A visit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla to the West
Java city of Bogor on April 1 was marred by a
demonstration by students who set fire to tyres
blocking the entourages route and forcing them to
take a different road.

Based on SCTV reports, the protesters who numbered
around 100 students had wanted to meet with the vice
president but were blocked by police. Not
surprisingly students and police began pushing and
shoving each other. Disappointed they then set fire
to tyres and blocked the road.

In speeches the protesters demanded that the
government take a firm position on carrying out
reform and eliminating corruption. They also called
on the government to oppose foreign interference in
the country. (Liputan 6, 1/4/2006)

Residents from South-East Sulawesi demand new
regency

Dozens of representatives of residents form six
regencies in the Muna Islands demonstrated on April
2 at the South-East Sulawesi DPRD. The protesters
were demanding to be allowed to separate from the
Muna regency on the grounds that in terms of
development they have been left behind by other sub-
districts due to a lack of attention by the Muna
regional government.

In order to attract attention to the demonstration,
protesters set fire to things and gave speeches. The
deputy head of the DPRD who met with protesters
promised that the Muna regent would meet with them
next week. (Liputan 6, 2/4/2006)

Hundreds of students call for regent’s resignation

Hundreds of students in West Java demonstrated on
April 2 demanding that the Pandeglang regent, Ahmad
Dimyati Natakusumah, resign as he had failed to side
with ordinary people. The action coincided with the
132 anniversary of the Pandeglang regency. During
the action students protested by sleeping on the
road resulting in a traffic jam. They failed however
to enter the offices of the Pandeglang DPRD because
they were blockaded by police. (Liputan 6, 2/4/2006)

High school students go on strike in Pekanbaru

Around 2,000 high school students in the Riau
capital of Pekanbaru went on strike on April 1. They
were protesting the dismissal of four teachers by
the management of the Prayoga Foundation. The
conflict started when the teachers demanded that the
management of the foundation act transparently in
the management of school funds. The foundation
however responded by sacking the four teachers who
they claimed were provocateurs. (Liputan 6,
2/4/2006)

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