Indonesia Roundup #7 - March 20-26, 2006

, by INDOLEFT News Service, PRD

Students protest exploitation of local resources

Dozens of students from the province of Bangka-
Belitung demonstrated on March 19 over the continued
exploitation of natural resources in their area.
They said that the exploitation by foreign companies
has led to the destruction of more than 50 percent
of the land in the province and resulted in
thousands of farmers loosing their jobs. They also
said that local people had not benefited from the
revenue generated by the exploitation and that it
has only been enjoyed by the bureaucrats and
government officials. (Liputan 6, 19/3/2006)

Hundreds of trishaw drivers in Aceh protest BRR

Around 200 people from the Aceh Three Wheeled
Association (Pertisa), Up Link Indonesia and the
Udeep Beusare Network demonstrated at the Aceh-Nias
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) on
March 20. Arriving on hundreds of motorised
trishaws, they were demanding that the government
pay attention to people renting homes.

They said that the BRR tends to pay more attention
to the rich who own more than one house while it is
still unclear if victims of the tsunami disaster who
do not own land and are only able to rent houses
will be given assistance.

In a written press release the protesters called on
the government to prioritise giving land and houses
to those who had neither and that the government
only give one house to each family. They also said
that the construction of houses must emphasise a
direct role for people rather than contractors and
demanded the formation of an independent team to
monitor BRR projects. (Aceh Kita, 20/3/2006)

Students protest against water rate hike in North
Maluku

Dozens of students demonstrated at the Ternate
mayor’s office in North Maluku on March 20 in
protest against increases to drinking water rates
that were arbitrarily set by the local state-owned
West Halmahera water company.

During the action protesters threatened to hold a
hunger strike if the water rate increases were not
canceled. The water company however, has insisted on
maintaining the new rates because of increases in
operational costs following the fuel price hikes
last year. (Liputan 6, 20/3/2006)

Manado traders protest illegal fees

Hundreds of traders from markets in the North
Sulawesi city of Manado protested at the mayor’s
office on March 20 over illegal fees collected by
the management of PD Manado Markets. Ramon Pakaya,
one of the directors of PD Manado Markets denied the
charges claiming that the action was only a
expression of anger by a former PD Manado Markets
director who was made non-active over a morality
case. (Liputan 6, 21/3/2006)

Banten journalists condemn police violence

On March 20, a number of journalist went to the
Banten police headquarters in Serang to condemn
violence committed by the Mobile Brigade against
journalists were covering the riots in Papua. During
their action they brought posters with messages
condemning the incidents that left three journalists
wounded. They were also demanding that the case be
thoroughly investigated. (Liputan 6, 21/3/2006)

Journalists in Maluku protest police violence

Dozens of print and electronic media journalists
held a protest in front of the Sirimau police
headquarters in Ambon, Maluku, on March 20. The
action, which was organised by the Maluku Television
Journalists Forum, was protesting brutal actions by
rogue police officers against a number of
journalists covering the Freeport protests in Papua.
In speeches the journalists called on Indonesian
police chief Sutanto to be serious about
investigating the perpetrators. (Liputan 6,
21/3/2006)

Civil servants in Pemalang demonstrate

Failing to become state civil servants, dozens of
candidate civil servants in Pemalang, Central Java,
demonstrated against the local government. They were
angry because initially, their names had been
included in the announcement of the results on the
Internet and print media as having pasted the
selection process. In the second announcement
however, which was the result of a decision by the
Pemalang regent, their names had been removed.
(Liputan 6, 21/3/2006)

Residents question election verification process

Around 200 residents demonstrated at the Sragen
Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Central
Java on March 20. They were calling on the DPRD to
ask the Sragen National Elections Commission to
clarify the verification process of two candidates
for the position of Sragen regent that passed the
selection process. The residents said that they
suspected that one of the pair of candidates had
used a false diploma. (Liputan 6, 21/3/2006)

Students demand KPK take over corruption case in
Banten

Around 50 students from the Banten Student
Communication Forum held an action on March 20 in
Jakarta demanding that the Corruption Eradication
Commission (KPK) take over corruption cases in the
province that are currently in the hands of the
state prosecutor.

"For example, the Karang Sari corruption cases,
which for two years has stalled at the chief public
prosecutor", said action coordinator M. Romli in a
speech at the KPK offices in Jakarta. The protesters
suspect that because the Karang Sari case involves
government officials it has not been taken to court.
Police tightly guarded the protest and six student
representatives were received by the KPK public
relations officer. (Tempo Interactive, 21/3/2006)

Bekasi primary school students protest poor
sanitation

Hundreds of students from the Jatiwaringin I and II
state junior high school in Bekasi, West Java, went
out into the streets on March 21 protesting the
Bekasi government’s lack of concern about the
environment. Together with teachers, they were angry
because the area around their school is littered
with heaps of rubbish.

The action proceeded peacefully with protesters
marched out of the school carrying brooms and other
cleaning equipment. Like other protesters, the
youths brought banners and a loud speaker to convey
their demands. The action was centered on the side
of a read near their school and created a traffic
jam with police even having to lend a hand to
maintain security. The students then marched to the
Pondok Gede sub-district offices to continue the
protest. (Liputan 6, 21/3/2006)

Acehnese refugees demand clean water supply

Hundreds of refugees living in barracks in the Mon
Geudong village in the Banda Sakti sub-district of
Lhokseumawe demonstrated at the offices of the
Regional Housing and Infrastructure Agency on March
21 demanding to be provided with clean water.

The protesters said that for the last three days,
the 225 families or 960 people living in the
barracks had not been able to obtain clean water.
There has not even been water to wash before prayers
and because the barracks could not be cleaned there
was unpleasant smell.

"Now, [we] don’t bath, there is no water to wash
rice. So what else [can we do] if [we] don’t
protest“, said Kartika when speaking to Aceh Kita.”The refugees that were here before got a supply of
clean water every day, as many as three water
trucks. But now it’s stopped, because funding for
fuel for the trucks has been stalled", said Kartika.
Another refugee said that because of the lack of
water they had been forced to sell food aid such as
bread and rice to purchase water at 4,000 rupiah per
jerrycan.

Kartika said that the problem should not have
occurred since Aceh is in a period of reconstruction
and non-government organisation assistance was in
abundance. "But [we] don’t know yeah, why the
Lhokseumawe government can’t even resolve small
problems. Let alone housing assistance", he said.
(Aceh Kita, 22/3/2006)

Rubber processing factory workers demonstrate in
Sumatra

Feeling that they have been treated unfairly,
hundreds of workers from a rubber-processing factory
in the Banyuasin regency of South Sumatra
demonstrated at the governor’s offices on March 24.
They said that there had been violations of their
basic rights such as the failure to pay the regional
minimum wage for rubber plantations. The workers
said they were only being paid 20,000 rupiah a day
and deductions were still being taken for this.
(Liputan 6, 24/3/2006)

Assistant teachers demonstrate in East Lampung

Hundreds of assistant teachers from East Lampung in
South Sumatra demonstrated at the DPRD on March 24
after failing to be allowed to sit an exam as
candidate state civil servants. They said that the
government had discriminated against them because of
requirements over age limits and period of
employment. (Liputan 6, 24/3/2006)

Village heads protest Tegal regent

Hundreds of village heads went to the offices of the
Tegal regent in Central Java on March 24 threatening
to boycott government activities if their demands
for revisions to the regional autonomy law are not
granted. The village heads also threatened to go the
offices of the minister for home affairs on April 3
even though a letter has already been issued
forbidding village heads from demonstrating in
Jakarta. (Liputan 6, 24/3/2006)

Kudus journalists protest violence against the press

At least 30 journalists from the Kudus Journalist
Communication Forum in Central Java demonstrated on
March 24 demanding an end to violence against
working journalists.

"We strongly condemn acts of violence that are
directed against journalists", said action
coordinator Edi Supratno. As well as giving
speeches, the journalists unfurled banners and
posters and distributed leaflets containing a list
of journalists that have been the victims of
violence.

The demonstrators were protesting the recent
incidents of violence against journalists that have
taken place in Abepura, Papua, when a clash broke
out between security forces and students at the
Cenderawasih University last week. (Tempo
Interactive, 24/3/2006)

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