Actions, demos, protests...

Indonesia Roundup #20 - June 19-25, 2006

, by INDOLEFT News Service, PRD

South Sumatra residents demand return of land

Around 500 people from the villages of Talang Nangka
and Jermun held a demonstration in front of the
offices of the South Sumatra governor in Palembang
on June 19. They were demanding that land in the
area of the village that had been seized by a
company for a palm oil plantation be returned to the
people.

At around 1pm they began gathering in front of the
Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) then
marched to the governor’s office. "We are asking the
government to return the land we work in the area of
the village. The land was taken by PT Persada Sawit
Mas to be turned into a palm oil plantation, without
prior discussion with residents. We are also asked
that the 15 people that were arrested after a
demonstration in early June be released", said
action coordinator Mahudan.

A government official who promised to facilitate a
meeting between the residents, PT Persada Sawit Mas
and the governor received representatives of the
protesters. As of late afternoon the protesters were
still demonstrating in front of the governor’s
office. (Kompas Cyber Media, 19/6/2006)

Papuan students protest in Jakarta

For the umpteenth time, on June 20 dozens of Papuan
students forced their way into the department of
home affairs building in Jakarta. They were
demanding that the minister for home affairs, M.
Ma’ruf, give official approval the election of the
Papuan governor and vice governor, Barnabas Suebu
and Alex Hesegem.

An argument even broke out with security personnel
when the students demanded to meet directly with
Ma’ruf. "This is what Jakarta people are like, they
don’t want to resolve Papua’s problems, if it’s like
this it’s better for Papua to separate from NKRI
[Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia]",
exclaimed one of the demonstrators.

In the end however, they were given permission to
convey their demands from the building’s press
conference room. Before doing this, they even
changed costumes, putting on traditional Papuan
cloths as well as Cendrawasih feather hats.

"We ask the central government to be explicit and
serious in paying attention to the problems in
Papua. Don’t allow Jakarta political interests to
take advantage of the political instability in
Papua", said action coordinator Laus DC Rumayom.
(Detik.com, 20/6/2006)

Manado students protests neoliberal policies

Dozens of students protested at the Manado
Convention Center building in South Sulawesi on June
20. The action, which took place at the location of
the Indonesian Economics Scholars Association (ISEI)
Congress, was protesting government policies that
are inclined towards neoliberalism, which they say
are designed by the ISEI congress. (Liputan 6,
20/6/2006)

Earthquake victims in Yogyakarta demonstrate over
aid

Around 175 victims of the Central Java earthquake
from the village of Tamanmartani in the Kelasan sub-
district of Sleman held a demonstration on June 20.
They were protesting because they have not been
registered to receive relief aid. They also said
that the aid distribution has been unfair.

One of the protesters, Suwarno, said that more than
150 families lived in their village but only 13 had
received assistance in the form of rice and basic
foods. "The ones who got assistance were only those
who’s homes collapsed," said Suwarno. Whereas all of
the residents of the village were victims of the
earthquake. Moreover, Vice President Jusuf Kalla
said that all of the victims would receive
assistance. "The reality is that the distribution
has been unfair", he said. (Tempo Interactive,
20/6/2006)

Farmers clash with police in Lombok

One farmer has been reported wounded in yet another
clash between farmers and police in Central Lombok,
West Nusa Tenggara. The clash occurred on June 21
when local government officials arrived at the
village of Tanak Awu and began taking measurements
and setting out stakes on agricultural land that is
the subject of a dispute between Tanak Awu farmers
and airport operator PT. Angkasa Pura II.

The officials arrived escorted by around 10 trucks
of Mobile Brigade officers, hundreds of police and
50 members of the vigilante squad Pamswakarsa. They
also brought a panzer and water cannon and a
helicopter could be seen circled overhead.

"During the incident a farmer was finally arrested,
beaten and shot on the spot and fell unconscious,
his right foot was bleeding", said Indonesian
Farmers Federation (FSPI) secretary general Henry
Saragih in a press release received by Detik.com on
June 22.

The regional government and PT Angkasa Pura II have
for some time been planning to build an airport on
land which covers the Tanak Awu village. During the
process however, there was a disagreement between
the residents and the government has been trying to
evict the residence since 1997.

Saragih also said that the farmers had long been
experiencing acts of terror and intimidation that
culminated on September 18 last year when police
forcibly broke up a meeting of farmers that was
organised at the Tanak Awu village. During the
incident police fired on the farmers resulting in 27
people being injured by gunshot wounds. (Detik.com,
22/6/2006)

Housewives demand free birth certificates

The cost of a birth certificate is becoming an
increasing burden for residents in the East Java
provincial capital of Surabaya. Bringing their
children with them, some 50 housewives demonstrated
at the Surabaya DPRD on June 21 demanding that birth
certificates be issued free.

The action, which organised by the Surabaya
Spernkali Residents Association and the Surabaya
Savings Group (KTS), proceeded peacefully. "The
reality on the ground is that the cost of obtaining
a birth certificate can be too much. For example,
when Mrs. Sodia went to get a birth certificate for
her grandchild [she] had to pay 50,000 rupiah", said
KTS coordinator Nur Rofiah in a speech. (Detik.com,
22/6/2006)

Students demand investigation into corruption case

Sick of corruption cases not being investigated, 30
students from the group South-East Sulawesi Students
Against Corruption (MAK) demonstrated at the offices
of the Attorney General on June 23. They were urging
the Attorney General to order the South-East
Sulawesi prosecutor’s offices to investigate a
suspected corruption case involving a project to
expand and improve the quality of junior high school
education.

The action started at 10am with speeches in front of
the Attorney General’s office. "There are a number
of schools that have not been given typewriters and
stenciling machines. It is because of this that we
are demanding legal justice", shouted Martono during
one of the speeches.

According to Martono, 3 billion rupiah in funds were
obtained to procure office equipment for a number of
schools but as it turns out the stenciling machines
were of poor quality and unevenly distributed. "A
BPKP [Financial and Construction Supervisory Agency]
audit found indications that this project has cost
the state losses of 357 million rupiah", he said.
After around 30 minutes, 10 representative were able
to meet with Attorney General staff members.
(Detik.com, 23/6/2006)

Bandung residents demand free schooling

Dozens of residents in the West Java provincial
capital of Bandung held a protest at the DPRD on
June 23 demanding free education for the poor. "The
government’s socialisation about education for the
poor is vary minimal", said Hani Purwanti, the
manager of TK Al Ibadah who took part in the
demonstration.

According to Purwanti, the number of poor people in
Bandung is continuing to grow. The education quota
for the poor however remains at just five percent
and this only prioritises those residents living in
the vicinity of schools. "The bureaucratic
procedures to register poor students is also
extremely difficult. Out of eight children that I
have registered two of them were rejected because of
delays", said Purwanti.

Like other demonstrations, the protesters that
included small children, brought a number of posters
with messages such as "The poor and destitute must
have schools“,”Fee free schools for the poor".
(Detik.com, 23/6/2006)

Acehnese demand corruption cases be acted on

Following recent protests by hundreds of South Aceh
students in Banda Aceh demanding that the chief
public prosecutor investigate corruption cases in
the regency, on June 22 it was the Tapaktuan state
prosecutor’s turn to be the target of a
demonstration by residents from a number of sub-
districts in the regency.

The residents, who came from the South Aceh Social
Forum (Forpemas) that was established by student
groups, non-government organisations and
fisherpeople, arrived at the South Sumatra governors
house at around 1pm after holding a march though the
main streets of Naga city.

Like the students in Banda Aceh, the protesters
demanded that the state prosecutor fully investigate
a number of suspected cases of corruption in South
Aceh. Among others they cited the procurement of 40
tractors, markups in the purchase of stone crushers
and other heavy machinery purchased by the regional
government departments as well as a scandal over
2002 education funds that is currently being
investigated by the Tapaktuan state prosecutor.

After meeting with the chief prosecutor, the
protesters returned to the Tapaktuan bus terminal
and disbursed. The action that was tightly guarded
by hundreds of South Aceh police proceeded in a
peaceful and orderly manner. (Aceh Kita, 22/6/2006)

Farmers occupy plantation land in North Sumatra

Hundreds of farmers from two villages in the North
Sumatra regency of Simalungun have forcibly occupied
plantation land owned by PT Kuala Gunung, which the
protesters say was annexed by the company in 1999.

The land occupation proceeded without incident
although it was watched over by plain clothed police
officers from the Simalungun district police. During
the action, farmers who came from the Nagori Mariah
Hombang Farmers Forum installed dozens of notice
boards stating that the residents own the land. They
also planted a number of banana tree seedlings.

The protesters said that the land occupation was
last attempt by the farmers after demonstrating
without effect on numerous occasions at the offices
of the regent and the Simalungun DPRD. (Metro TV
News, 24/6/2006)

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