Actions, demos, protests...

Indonesia Roundup #32 - September 11-17, 2006

, by INDOLEFT News Service, PRD

PT Sanyo Indonesia workers win victory

Striking PT Sanyo Indonesia workers in Bekasi have
finally won. Today, the company announced that it
would withdraw an August 5 decision to suspend three
trade union leaders at the company.

Ramadan, secretary of the trade union and one of the
dismissed workers said PT Sanyo’s decision was most
unexpected. “The workers have been asked to forget
what has happened and learn from the situation”, he
said. “It was put in very diplomatic language. But,
what is clear now is that we have returned to work”,
said Ramadan.

The decision was greeted warmly by the other
workers. “Today’s action is over. We are happy. But,
if in the future the management continues to hurt
us, we will hold an even larger demo”, said Ismail,
an employee in the compressor division. Ismail added
that the win represented a victory for the struggle
by all Indonesian trade unions against employers
that act in an arbitrary manner. “There can be no
more coercion or intimidation”, he said. (Tempo
Interactive, 11/9/2006)

Onion farmers in Tegal burn harvest in protest over
imports

Onion farmers in the Tegal regency of Central Java
set fire to their harvest recently as a form of
protest against the government following a drop in
onion prices, which farmers blame on imports.

The farmers complained that the price of imported
onions are cheaper and called on the government to
limit imports. "Farmers continue suffering losses,
harvests are a failure, and the government doesn’t
care", said Marsudi, one of the onion farmers.
(Liputan 6, 11/9/2006)

Ende bus drivers demonstrate

Around 50 bus drivers plying the route between Ende
and Maumere on the Flores island of East Nusa
Tenggara demonstrated at the Ende Regional House of
Representatives (DPRD) on September 11. They were
demanding that Travel transport vehicles stop
entering the terminal and picking up passengers,
which the drivers said was cutting into their
income.

"If Travel also enters the terminal to look for
passenger, then what is the difference with busses
and other inner city transportation. Travel should
serve house to house and not look for passenger at
the terminal", said Tunas Bus driver Lukas Gere.
Following a dialogue with assembly members, the
transportation offices said that Travel would be
prevented from entering the terminal. (Kompas Cyber
Media, 11/9/2006)

Anti-imperialist action at US Embassy

The United States is considered a symbol of
imperialism by the advanced countries over
developing and small countries. As a consequence,
the US Embassy also becomes the target for actions
opposing imperialist exploitation.

On September 11, dozens of people from the Peoples
Movement Against Colonialism (GRMK) held an action
in front of the US Embassy in Central Jakarta
opposing the role of imperialism. This opposition
was symbolised by the protesters wearing hats in the
shape of rockets with the names of several advanced
countries such as the US, Japan, Britain, Germany
and France.

According to action coordinator Dani Setiawan, the
advanced countries are pressuring the developing or
small countries that have natural wealth with the
intention of controlling the economies of these
countries. "Like today, the US controls the natural
wealth of Iraq that will then come under IMF and
World Bank projects that will greatly benefit the
two institutions", said Setiawan.

The protesters had also planned to set fire to the
rocket hats but were prevented by some 30 police
officers watching over the action. (Detik.com,
11/9/2006)

Hundreds of pedicab drivers demonstrate in Jakarta

On September 11 some 500 pedicab drivers went to the
Koja sub-district offices in North Jakarta to demand
that the 1998 law banning pedicabs in the city be
revoked. The action followed the earlier eviction of
280 pedicabs by sub-district security personnel.

Facilitated by the Urban Poor Consortium (KKK), they
arrived riding pedicabs, on motorcycles, by foot and
in open vans. In addition to giving speeches they
also put up banners with message such as "Stop
rounding up pedicabs“,”The Jakarta regional
government is a capitalist lackey“, and”Abolish
Bylaw 11/1998".

One of the protesters said that the rounding up of
the pedicab drivers must end saying that it was the
same as murdering the urban poor. Didid S, an
activist from UPC said that the forced seizure of
the pedicabs in the streets was a violation of human
rights because as a means of livelihood it has a
wide impact on the social, economic and cultural
lives of residents. He added that the government
should return the pedicabs, stop further seizures
and allow them to operation on side roads.

Koja sub-district head Toni Sukanda, who met with
eight representatives of pedicab drivers, said they
would not stop the seizures, as they were
legitimised by law. No agreement was reached at the
meeting and the pedicab drivers said that regardless
of the consequences they were determined to continue
operations. (Kompas Cyber Media, 11/9/2006)

Students rock South Jakarta District Court

Around 50 students from the Syarif Hidayatullah
State Islamic University (UIN) held an action at the
South Jakarta District Court on September 11 to
protest the trial of UIN student Fakhrur ‘Faung’
Rahman on charges of insulting the president and
vice president. Faung was arrested by security
personnel during a protest on June 28 demanding that
former President Suharto be tried for corruption.

According to the public relations officer for the
action, Borang, Faung’s arrest was in relation to a
speech he gave in which he said that if Suharto is
not tried then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
and Vice President Jusuf Kalla should resign.
(Detik.com, 11/9/2006)

PT Dirgantara employees demand severance pay

Hundreds of members of the PT Dirgantara Indonesia
Employees Trade Union Communication Forum
demonstrated again at the Husein Sastranegara North
Square in the West Java provincial capital of
Bandung on September 11. They were demanding the
payment of severance pay which has still not been
paid dispute a government promise to pay the
outstanding monies based upon an agreement between
the management of PT Dirgantara and the trade union
several months ago. (Liputan 6, 12/9/2006)

Demonstration against regent elect in West Seram
ends in clash

A demonstration against the inauguration of the
recently elected regent of West Seram in Maluku
ended in a clash when local civilian police
prevented the protesters from meeting with the
governor. The protesters also set fire to books on
regional autonomy as a symbol of their anger.
(Liputan 6, 12/9/2006)

Makassar residents protest blackouts

Residents in the South Sulawesi provincial capital
of Makassar are continuing to hold demonstrations
following a series of rotating blackouts carried out
by the state owned electricity company PT PLN. The
hundreds of protesters from various slum areas in
the city are demanding that PT PLN be held liable
for the financial losses they have suffered as
result of the blackouts. (Liputan 6, 12/9/2006)

Papuan workers vandalise office, 40 arrested

Scores of West Papuan workers vandalized the offices
of timber company PT Prabu Alaska in West Jakarta
during a protest on September 12. The incident
occurred after the protesters, who had been waiting
for some period of time, finally received news that
the head of PT Prabu Alaska was not at the office.
The workers then gave vent to their anger by
smashing windows and damaging office furnishings.

The workers, who come from the Fakfak in West Papua
where PT Prabu Alaska operates, had come to Jakarta
to demand the payment of almost two years in
outstanding wages. Seeing that the situation was
getting out of control, West Jakarta police moved in
an detained around 40 demonstrators. (Liputan 6,
12/9/2006)

Bantul earthquake victims protest

Hundreds of earthquake victims from seven sub-
districts in the Bantul regency of Yogyakarta,
Central Java, demonstrated again on September 12
demanding the fair and even distribution of
reconstruction funds. This time round the
demonstration was different from previous actions
because it was held amidst the rubble of destroyed
buildings in the Seloharjo area of Bantul — earlier
protests had been held at the offices of the Bantul
regent or Yogyakarta governor’s offices. The
protesters said that they intentionally held the
action there because protests at government offices
had produced no result. (Liputan 6, 13/9/2006)

Farmers occupy regency office, police headquarters

Hundreds of members of the North Sumatra Farmers
Union (SPSU) occupied the offices of the Asahan
regent and the Asahan district police headquarters
on September 13. The farmers were protesting because
they were angered by acts of violence and
mistreatment committed against them by plantation
investors, which ended in the farmers being evicted
from the plantation.

The farmers, who originate from the South Sumatra
regency of Bayung Lincir, also demonstrated at the
offices of the South Sumatra governor and local DPRD
on the same day. The farmers said that they were
afraid because of threats by security personnel who
work for the plantation company. (Liputan 6,
13/9/2006)

Students in Solo oppose rice imports

Students from the March Eleven University (UNS) in
the Central Java city of Solo demonstrated against
rice imports at the Solo public hall on September
13. The protest was proceeded by a march from the
UNS campus.

According to the students, the policy of importing
rice will only hurt farmers, does not address the
problems and is only a band aid solution. The
students said that the importation of some 210,000
tons of rice to safeguard national rice reserves
makes no sense because reserve levels are adequate
at present. (Kompas Cyber Media, 13/9/2006)

Anti-corruption activists protest Hilton Hotel

Around 70 people from the Indonesian Peoples Anti-
Corruption Alliance (ARAKI) demonstrated in front of
the Attorney Generals Office in Jakarta on September
13. They were highlighting a case of suspected
corruption in the transfer of the building permit
for the Hilton Hotel involving governor of South-
East Sulawesi, Ali Mazi.

During the action, which was closely watched over by
police, protesters urged the Attorney General to
immediacy hand the Hotel Hilton corruption case over
to the courts and that President Yudhoyono issue a
decree suspending Mazi from his post. They also
condemned the intervention and provocation by
political parties in influencing the legal process.
(Kompas Cyber Media, 13/9/2006)

Residents protest construction of telecommunications
tower

The construction of the PT Excelcomindo Tower in the
village of Gempol Sewu in the Rowosari sub-district
of Kendal in Yogyakarta has become the target of
protests by hundreds of local residents. They oppose
the construction of the telecommunication tower
because they were not informed beforehand. During
the action that was held at the offices of the
Kendal regional government, the protesters also
demanded that the Kendal regent remove the head of
their village because he had rented out land for
personal profit. (Liputan 6, 14/9/2006)

Students oppose disposal of mud into Madura Strait

A demonstration opposing the disposal of hot mud
from the PT Lapindo Brantas exploration site into
the Madura Strait was held in by students
originating from Madura Island who are attending
university in Yogyakarta. In speeches the students
said that the government’s plan to dispose of the
mud would cause financial losses to Maduran fishers
and the people of Madura because it would damage the
marine ecosystem. During the protest the students
also set fire to old tyres to protest the
government’s slow response to Lapindo disaster.
(Liputan 6, 14/9/2006)

Residents demand compensation from timer company

Hundreds of residents representing villages in the
Air Buaya sub-district of Baru regency, Maluku,
protested at the timer company PT Gema Hutani
Lestari on September 13. They were seeking an
explanation from the company over its suspected
involvement in illegal logging.

Although the protesters were initially only seeking
a clarification from the company, when they were
informed that the management was not prepared to
meet them they threatened to take stern action if
the company is proven to be involved in the illegal
logging.

The residents became angry after their villages
started to suffer from frequent floods due to
deforestation and are demanding as much as 30
billion rupiah in compensation from the company.
(Liputan 6, 14/9/2006)

Students call on government to take action over mud
disaster

Dozens of students from the Alliance of Three
Branches of the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement
(PMII) from the East Java cities of Surabaya,
Sidoarjo and Pasuruan held an action at the Surabaya
governor’s office on September 14. They were calling
on the government take firm action to resolve the
problem of the hot mud disaster in Sidoarjo.

Arriving at the governor’s office at around 11.40am
they gave speeches urging the government to resolve
the problems being caused by the hot mud from PT
Lapindo Brantas, take action against those
responsible for the disaster and to take over the
handling of the mud overflow. Earlier, they held a
similar demonstration at the East Java DPRD
building. (Kompas Cyber Media, 14/9/2006)

Residents protest extension of mud pond

Hundreds of residents from the Besuki village in the
Jebon sub-district of Sidoarjo protested on
September 14 over the extension of a mud containment
dam that is already encroaching on the village’s
road and houses.

The residents said they were concerned that their
village would suffer the same fate as the Jatirejo
village, which was inundated with mud after a dam
breached. "If it breaches the people will be unable
to able to escape", said one of the residents.
(Liputan 6, 15/9/2006)

Busway ticketing staff go on strike

Hundreds of busway ticketing staff went on strike
this morning demanding a wage increase from their
employer PT Delta. "We were promised that we would
receive a wage of 1.2 million [a month], but this
has still not been realised", said one of the
strikers.

A staff member who wished to remain anonymous said
that they had not served any busway customers since
the strike began adding that all 22 employees at
their bus stop had joined the strike. The head of
Trans Jakarta, Bambang Garjito, confirmed that
ticketing staff were on strike adding that, "There
are around 800 employees on strike". Garjito also
claimed the problem had already been overcome and
that they plan to reprimand PT Delta. (Tempo
Interactive, 15/9/2006)

Residents ’run riot’ over Lapindo mud

Hundreds of residents from the village of Besuki in
Besuki regency, Sidoarjo, ‘ran riot’ on the Gempol-
Surabaya toll road on September 15 after their
houses were inundated by mud from PT Brantas
Lapindo. As well as vandalising vehicles and
roadside facilities they also blockaded the road.

The residents, who became angry after their village
was inundated with mud from a containment dam,
ripped up the fence on the medium strip, smashed the
windows of a passing car, forced a truck driver from
their vehicle and smashed pot plants made from old
tyres which they then tried to set alight.
Journalists covering the action also became targets.
“There is no need to cover it. It’s a waste of time.
Jakarta already knew our village would be inundated
but did nothing”, said one of the residents.

The dozen or so security personnel that were present
were unable to do much in the face of the resident’s
anger and stood by and watched from a distance as
residents stopped vehicles on the toll road.
(Detik.com, 15/9/2006)

Porong highway blockade actions getting worse

Actions blockading the Porong highway in Central
Java by residents from the Mindi village are getting
worse. Previously they had allowed two wheeled
vehicles and pedicabs past through the blockade, but
as of September 16 the road has been closed off to
all traffic. As well a creating difficulties for
road users who have been forced to find an
alternative route, the blockade has caused anxiety
for shop owners, many of which have chosen to close
their shops. (Detik.com, 16/9/2006)

Students, lecturers demonstrate over police beating

Dozens of students and lecturers from the Antasari
Banjarm State Islamic University and the Kalimantan
Banjarmasin Islamic University demonstrated in front
of the South Kalimantan regional police offices on
September 16 demanding an investigation into the
beating of a student by a police officer.

The victim, Haris Prasetyo, who is also the deputy
chair of the Student Executive Council (BEM), was
beaten up the day before after he was stopped for
not wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike.

Lecturer Muhammad Uhaib said in a speech that they
are calling on police to conduct a full
investigation into the case. “We will not remain
silent. We want this issue to be fully
investigated”, he said. Police say that the officer
concerned has been detained and is being questioned.
(Media Indonesia, 16/9/2006)

Transport drivers strike, Tangerang paralyzed

Thousand of public transport drivers plying route 73
covering Tangerang city and surrounding areas have
been on strike since this morning demanding that
illegal routes be closed down. As a result of the
strike thousands of passengers were left stranded
and the city paralyzed.

The head of the Tangerang Public Transport Drivers
Union (SPAUT), Syaiful Milah, said that the action
was held after earlier demands by the drivers had
been ignored by the transportation office. "We will
continue demonstrating until our demands are met",
said Milah. (Tempo Interactive, 17/9/2006)

Residents vandalise poultry farm, release chickens

A demonstration by some 300 residents from the
village of Sukatanti in the Depok sub-district of
Cimanggis who were protesting on the grounds of a
poultry farm owned by PT Indocentral has ended with
protesters vandalising chicken coops and releasing
birds.

The residents, who came from the Anti Poultry Farm
Forum (FAPA), were demanding that the farm be
relocated saying that the acrid smell from the farm
had become intolerable and can be smelt from as far
away as 100 meters. As a result, many residents,
particularly children, were suffering acute
repertory infections due to an allergic reaction to
the smell. “The smell is bad and acrid”, said the
head of FAPA Huseini who is also the administrative
district head. Huseini added that PT Indocentral has
still not obtained the appropriate business and
environmental licenses to operate the farm.

Failing to get through the front gate that was being
guarded by another group of resident who support the
presence of the poultry farm, the angry protesters
broke down the rear gates of the farm and vandalised
cages, release chickens, smashed eggs and destroyed
a water pipe. A short time later Cimanggis sectoral
police arrived and took control of the situation.
(Tempo Interactive, 17/9/2006)

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