Actions, demos, protests...

Indonesia Roundup #31 - September 4-10, 2006

, by INDOLEFT News Service, PRD

Central Java farmers demand closure of plantation

Around 200 farmers from the National Farmers Union
(STN) demonstrated in the Central Java provincial
capital of Semarang on September 4 demanding that
the National Land Agency (BPN) revoke the business
licence belonging to the plantation company PT
Rumpun Sari Kaligintung.

The farmers, who came from the regencies of
Temanggung, Semarang and Batang, started the action
at in the Simpang Lima area in Central Semarang then
marched on foot to the Central Java BPN offices some
two kilometers away. The march was also joined by
elderly people, women and even children, and
enlivened by spirited shouts and constant singing.

In speeches the farmers said that PT Rupun Sari
Kaligintung, which operates on the border between
Semarang and Temanggung, had violated its licence
because it was obliged to work 148 hectares of land
for a tea plantation but had only planted on 15
hectares with the remaining land left idle.

"In the end farmers worked the fallow land, but of
course it was not free. The farmers were paid cheap
to become tea pickers, were required to plant
Abbasiyah trees and pay a rent of 10,000 rupiah for
a staked area of land. This is like the practice of
colonialism", said action coordinator Adi during a
break in the action. (, 4/9/2006)

Hundreds of PT Great River workers demonstrate at
Mandiri Bank

Hundreds of workers from the company PT Great River
International (GRI) demonstrated at the central
offices of Mandiri Bank in Jakarta on September 4.
They were demanding the payment of two month’s
outstanding wages.

"Mandiri Bank as the proxy for PT GRI shareholders
must pay our wages. Between the months of July and
August we were only paid 50 percent of our wages",
said one of the workers, Inung. The workers also
called on Mandiri Bank not to sell off PT GRI
because they were worried that this would only make
their futures even more uncertain.

"Our wages have not increased for five years. We are
asking for our wages to be increased in accordance
with the minimum regional wage. We also want to be
registered under the social security program
(Jamsostek)", said Inung.

Like other demonstrations, the protesters brought
banners and posters with messages such as "Police
arrest [president director] Sunjoto and his
cronies". As of 10.50am the protesters were still
demonstrating in front the entrance of the Mandiri
Bank and there is no information as to whether bank
officials were prepared to meet with them.
(, 4/9/2006)

Kupang students demand resignation of university

Around 100 students from the Widya Mandira Catholic
University in Kupang demonstrated on September 5
demanding that university rector Cosmas Fernandez
resign. The students, who also sealed off the campus
gate, said that Fernandez was authoritarian,
uncommunicative and did not listen to the student’s
wishes. A similar action had been held the day

After sealing off the front gate, the students gave
speeches and put up a number of banners and posters
with messages such as “The rector is authoritarian”
and “Bring down the rector now”. As a result of the
gate being sealed, administrative staff as well as
students were unable to enter and campus activities
were totally paralyzed. Guarded over by dozens of
police, the protest also caused a traffic jam in
front of the campus. (, 5/9/2006)

Primary school students, parents protest demolition

Demonstrations don’t just involve university
students and adults. In the Central Java city of
Solo, hundreds of primary school students from the
Joyosuran State Primary School took part in a
demonstration recently. They were opposing the
demolition of their school to make way for the
construction of the Pasar Kliwon sub-district

Accompanied by their parents, the students held the
action on the school grounds. The protesters said
they were deeply disappointed by the decision to
demolish the school that they said demonstrated the
local government’s failure to prioritise education.
If the school is demolished, students will be forced
to move to the Kusumodilagan State Primary School
some two kilometers away. (Liputan 6, 5/9/2006)

Farmers in Semarang demand return of land

Hundreds of farmers from various parts of Central
Java held a demonstration at the office of
agricultural affairs in Semarang on September 5.
They were demanding that the plantation company PT
Perkebunan Rumpun Sari immediately return their land
that was handed over to the company during the era
of Suharto’s New Order regime after they had been
harassed and intimidated by the military. (Liputan
6, 5/9/2006)

Yogyakarta students protest plan to import rice

Hundreds of students from a number of tertiary
education institutions in the Central Java city of
Yogyakarta demonstrated on September 5 against the
government’s plan to import rice. The protesters
said that the move would only bring suffering to
Indonesian farmers who are already facing an
extremely difficult economic situation. The students
demanded that the government enact policies to
advance the agricultural sector, as the majority of
Indonesian’s population are farmers. (Liputan 6,

Protesters oppose division of Lebak regency

Around 1000 residents from three sub-districts in
the Lebak regency of Banten province demonstrated on
September 5 calling on the Regional House of
Representatives (DPRD) to postpone the division of
the southern part of Lebak. The residents, who came
from the sub-districts of Gunung Kencana, Cijaku and
Cikulur said that they were not ready for the new
regency that is to be named Cilangkahan because the
level of infrastructure is still minimal. (Liputan
6, 5/9/2006)

PT Natraco workers demand wage increase

Hundreds of PT Natraco workers in the West Sumatra
regional capital of Padang went on strike on
September 5 demanding that their salaries be
increased in accordance with the provincial minimum
wage and for the reinstatement of a colleague who
was dismissed over earlier demands for a wage
increase. The workers are demanding that the company
that produces cinnamon increase the daily wage to
26,000 rupiah from the current level of 15,000
rupiah. (Liputan 6, 5/9/2006)

PT Sanyo employees strike over suspension of workers

Around 1,800 PT Sanyo Indonesia employees in the
East Jakarta Industrial Park area in the Cikarang
sub-district of Bekasi went on strike today. "We are
demanding the that the suspicion of three PT Sanyo
Trade Union leaders be reversed", said trade union
deputy secretary Zainuddin, one of the workers who
was suspended.

The solidarity strike was held because the decision
by the company to suspend the workers was done
without going through the mechanisms stipulated by
the labour law. The three workers were suspended
following a demonstration in April 2005.

The strike began at 7.30am when workers from the
administration, compressor and home products
divisions refused to start work, remaining outside
and putting up banners and giving speeches. The
workers say they will continue the actions until
September 11 or until their demands are met. (Tempo
Interactive, 5/9/2006)

Solok residents seal off PLN, legislators’ homes

On September 5, residents from Suku Tanjung in the
Solok district of West Java sealed off the offices
of the state owned electricity company PLN and the
official residences of Solok DPRD members in the
Kayu Aro area. They were demanding that the Solok
regional government pay them compensation for 2.5
hectares of land that is being used for the
construction of two buildings. (Liputan 6, 6/9/2006)

Students reject plan to dump Lapindo mud in sea

A visit by East Java Governor Imam Utomo to the
Bangkalan regency of Madura Island in East Java was
marred by a student demonstration. The protesters
were demanding that the governor reject plans to
dump water from the PT Lapindo Brantas mud disaster
into the Madura Strait saying that it is a principle
income source for fishers in Madura. (Liputan 6,

Sanyo workers go on strike again

Thousands of PT Sanyo Indonesia workers took strike
action again today with around 1,500 workers putting
up tents alongside the factory in the East Jakarta
Industrial Park. Although worker representatives
were able to meet with management they said, "they
did not touch on what had happened". The workers
said that they would wait for assurances from the
company until 1pm. "If the suspicions are revoked,
we will return to work. But if not, we will stay on
strike", said trade union deputy secretary
Zainuddin. (Tempo Interactive, 6/9/2006)

Students pelt PLN offices with rotten tomatoes

Angry over PT PLN’s policy of returning to rolling
blackouts, student from the Student Critics Forum
(Formaks) demonstrated at the PLN offices in South
Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar by pelting
the office with rotten tomatoes.

"PLN as a state owned enterprise, in fact causes
residents to suffer. Electricity is the most basic
of necessities. But PLN’s services are very poor as
demonstrated by the rolling blackouts", said action
coordinator Tenri Wara speaking before a protest at
the Makassar State Islamic University.

After giving speeches at the university, the
students then moved off to the PLN offices where
they pelted the building with rotten tomatoes and
chilies. They then set fire to old tyres causing the
situation to become tense when security personnel
tried to stop them. In the end the students
disbanded peacefully but said that would return if
their demands were not met. (, 6/9/2006)

Earthquake victims demand even distribution of funds

Around 2,000 victims of the earthquake in the
Central Java regency of Bantul demanding the even
distribution of assistance funds held a
demonstration at the offices of the Yogyakarta
Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X on September 6.

The protesters, who come from the Peoples Forum for
Victims of the Earthquake (Forkob) and originate
from sub-districts all across Bantul, said they
would stay overnight if the governor failed to meet

Arman Kurniawan, one of the action coordinators,
said that they disagree with the first stage of
reconstruction assistance only being allocated for
47 houses that were destroyed by the quake and said
that the funds but be distributed evenly to all of
the earthquake victims.

"We also oppose the assistance being distributed
based on groups. Because this will trigger a
conflict. The government should learn from the
experience of distributing living allowances that
also cased divisions", said Kurniawan (,

Villagers demand land compensation

Dozens of villagers from Kiajaran Kulon in the
Lohbener sub-district of Indramayu regency, West
Java, demonstrated at the offices of the local
village administration on September 6. They were
demanding compensation for land that had been
cleared for the broadening of the Jl. Pantai Utara
road. The residents also called on the local village
head to resign because they said he had not defended
their rights. (Liputan 6, 7/9/2006)

Villagers blockade entrance to disputed land

The clearing of land in the village of Nanggala
Mekar in the Ciranjang sub-district of Cianjur, West
Java, is not running smoothly. Hundreds of residents
blockaded the entrance to site when officials from
the Cianjur District Court came to clear the
disputed land. The villagers are in a dispute with a
person who claims to have purchased the land.
(Liputan 6, 7/9/2006)

Students demand closure of dishonest petrol station

Hundreds of students in Makassar demonstrated on
September 7 demanding that the state owned oil
company Pertamina close down a dishonest petrol
station. The students almost clashed with Pertamina
security personnel but tensions were diffused after
an official from Pertamina’s public relations
department met with them. (Liputan 6, 7/9/2006)

Public hospital doctors strike over honorariums

Scores of doctors from the Kepanjen Public Hospital
in the East Java city of Malang went on strike on
September 6. They were demanding that the hospital
be more transparent in the allocation of

According to the protesters, not all doctors should
not receive the same honorariums as they all have
different levels of skill and experience. They said
that they would not return to work until the
hospital management meets their demands.

In response, the director of the hospital, Doctor
Agus Arifin said that it was not a serious problem
and that the hospital management would levy
sanctions against the striking doctors. (Liputan 6,

Indramayu farmers protest against rice imports

Farmers from Indramayu under the banner of the Anti
Broker and Speculators Movement (GATS) demonstrated
at the House of Representatives (DPR) building in
South Jakarta on September 8. The protesters were
opposing rice imports and demanding that the
government pay more attention to the fate Indonesian

Arriving by bus, the 30 or so farmers immediately
began putting up banners and posters with the
messages such as "Beware of masked rice
speculators“,”Defend farmers!“and”Don’t’ trust

In speeches they said the government’s plan to
import rice it would make things even more difficult
for farmers. "Look, the government does not pay
enough attention to farmers in Indonesia. If our
demands are not met, we will hold even larger
demonstrations until our voices are heard", said
GATS action coordinator Syaiful Bahri. (,

Textile workers demand outstanding wages

Hundreds of workers from a textile factory in the
Pekalongan regency of Central Java demonstrated at
the local DPRD not long ago. They were urging the
assembly members to assist them, as the company has
not paid their wages for the last three months.
Unfortunately the action failed to get the attention
of the DPRD, as there were no assembly members
willing to meet with the workers. Following the
action the workers held a joint prayer in front of
the home of the factory’s director. (Liputan 6,

Yogyakarta street traders oppose relocation

Hundreds of Yogyakarta street traders demonstrated
at the DPRD on September 9. The were protesting over
their forcible relocated from Jl. Mangkubumi to the
Kuncen area of Wirobrajan. The traders said that the
Kuncen area is unsuitable because it is far form the
busy areas of the city. (Liputan 6, 9/9/2006)

Victims of transmission line project demand

Thousands of resident from the Jepara regency
demonstrated at the Semarang DPRD on September 9
demanding compensation for their homes and land that
lie beneath high-voltage transmission lines (SUTET).
The protesters were demanding compensation of 65,000
rupiah per square meter and rejected PLN’s offer of
5,000 rupiah. (Liputan 6, 9/9/2006)

Students demand free education for earthquake

Hundreds of students from various universities
demonstrated at the Gajah Mada University (UGM)
campus in Yogyakarta on September 9 demanding free
education for victims of the Central Java
earthquake. The action was marred by an incident in
which students and campus security personnel started
pushing and shoving each other when the protesters
tried to meet with UGM Rector Sofyan Effendi. The
rectorate had refused to meet with the students
because the demonstrators were not just from UGM but
included students from other universities. (Liputan
6, 9/9/2006)

Public figures, civil servants demand investigation

Hundreds of public figures and state civil servants
from the Kendal regency in Central Java demonstrated
at the regional police headquarters in Semarang on
September 9. They were demanding that the police
conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into
suspected corruption by Kendal Regent Hendy Budoro
and the speaker of the Central Java DPRD, Murdoko.
The protesters called on the police not to be
selective in handling the corruption cases involving
some 61 billion rupiah of the regional budget.
(Liputan 6, 9/9/2006)

Bojong dump site residents attack sub-district head

A demonstration by hundreds of resident living in
the vicinity of the Bojong dumpsite has again ended
in rioting. The incident took place when hundreds of
Bojong residents were demonstrating against the
Bogor regional government’s plan to remove a number
of items of equipment from the Bojong dumpsite.

Initially the demonstration proceeded in an orderly
manner but then turned ugly when they evicted
Klapanunggal sub-district head Panji Sutisna from
the site. A number of protesters hit and kicked
Sutisna and almost destroyed his car.

As of this afternoon, the residents were still
protesting and had blockaded the road to the
dumpsite. A number of vehicles, including a fire
truck were forced to turn back. The residents are
threatening to keep the road closed if the Bogor
government tries to remove the equipment.

This is not the first action. In October 2005
residents from Klapanunggal also blockaded the site
and built a wall in the middle of the road and cut
down trees to create a blockade. (Liputan 6,

Refugees occupy North Maluku governor’s office

Hundreds of refugees, victims of the riots in
Tobelo, North Halmahera, have again occupied the
North Maluku governor’s office in Ternate. The
protesters, the majority of which were women and
children, are demanding to be repatriated, as they
can no longer put up with living in refugee camps.

The refugees have been living in the camps for
almost seven years. Their demands to be returned
home have been ignored by North Maluku Governor
Thaib Armain and the government’s promise to
repatriate them have been delayed by an alleged lack
of funds. (Liputan 6, 10/9/2006)

Vice presidential visit greeted with protests

A recent visit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla to the
Hasanuddin University in Makassar was greeted by
dozens of protesting students. The students were
condemning the government’s plan to privatise the
Hasanuddin campus, which they said would result in
an increase in education fees.

The protest was marred by a clash when the students
tried to meet with Kalla after he had entered the
campus grounds with protesters and security
personnel pushing and shoving each other. Outnumber
by the security personnel, the student were
eventually forced to flee to safety. (Liputan 6,

Bogor students refuse to attend classes over illegal

Hundreds of students from the Pakuan University in
Bogor, West Java, refused to attend classes on
October 9 and instead held a demonstration at the
university rectorate building. The students were
demanding that the rectorate investigate illegal
fees being levied against new students. According to
the students, these fees amount to more than 125
million rupiah with each new students being forced
to pay a “ghost” fee of 50,000 to 1 million rupiah
each. (Liputan 6, 10/10/2006)

Pasuruan residents protest over factory waste

Hundreds of residents from five villages in East
Java regency of Pasuruan demonstrated recently over
the acrid fumes cause by waste from a gelatin
factory located in the area. They were demanding
that the factory provide compensation to pay for
healthcare. (Liputan 6, 10/10/2006)

Market traders almost clash with police

Traditional market traders in the village of Passo
in Maluku almost clashed with civil service police
on October 7 after government officials forcibly
tried to demolish their kiosks and evict them from
the area without prior notice. The traders said they
had already paid the required fees to the Ambon
municipal government of as much of 750,000 rupiah
per year. The officials eventually gave in and
canceled the eviction. (Liputan 6, 10/10/2006)

Demonstration by refugees ends in clash, dozens

A demonstration by hundreds of refugees from the
Ambon riots at the North Maluku governor’s office
has ended in a clash. The incident was triggered by
the beating of a student who was taking part in the
demonstration by an official from the governor’s
office. Angry, the protesters responded by breaking
through the front gate and a clash broke out when
officials tried to force the protesters back. Dozens
were injured in the incident. (Liputan 6,

Kendari workers demand payment of holiday bonuses

Around 800 workers from a fish processing company in
the city of Kendari, South East Sulawesi, went on
strike and padlocked the factory gates on October 9.
The action was held after workers heard rumors that
due to financial losses, PT Darma Samudra Kendari
would not be providing workers annual holiday
bonuses. Responding to the protests, the company
denied that it would not be paying holiday bonuses
but added that previous bonuses had been paid based
on performance but that this year, in accordance
with government regulations, they would only be paid
the equivalent of one month’s wages. (Liputan 6,

Bandung workers demand severance pay

Hundreds of workers from PT Naintex in Bandung
demonstrated again at the Gedung Sate building
complex demanding to be paid severance pay. The
workers were demanding to be paid 13 billion rupiah
to be distributed among 933 workers who were
dismissed by the company eight months ago. (Liputan
6, 10/102006)

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