Fwd (GLW): INDONESIA: Youth mobilise against Suharto forces

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sun Feb 11 05:13:44 MST 2001

The following article appears in the current issue of Green Left Weekly

INDONESIA: Youth mobilise against Suharto forces

On January 30 more than 500 high school students and 300 urban poor youth,
with the help of 15 buses, mobilised in Jakarta for the “Anti-New Order
Tour”. Organised by the Popular Youth Movement (GPK) and Jabotabek High
School Students Front (FPJ), the tour targeted Suharto and his supporters,
the Golkar party, and the Indonesian armed forces (TNI).

The protest demanded that these elements be tried for their economic,
political and human rights crimes against the Indonesian people. It also
called on all students to stop fighting each other and to instead join the
struggle to demand jobs and cheap education for the people.

The protest action started in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, moving to the
presidential palace and the parliament building. GPK general secretary
Ricky Tamba told Green Left Weekly that passers-by in the streets responded
positively to the protest. Tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed.

Outside the presidential palace one GPK member told the crowd, “We come
here to ask [Indonesian President] Gus Dur and [Vice-President] Megawati to
have the courage to sweep away the remnants from the New Order regime:
Golkar, TNI, Suharto and their supporters. They caused all the people's
problems so if Gus Dur and Megawati don't have a program and the courage to
face them, then the people will do it themselves”.

Speakers highlighted the devastating effects of Suharto's rule on the
education system, through cutting the budget and reducing the quality of
curriculum. They highlighted how education had become oriented solely
toward creating more low-paid workers. Speakers also called for freedom of
organisation in high schools.

Tamba reported that hundreds of police and soldiers blockaded the road,
attempting to intimidate the protesters. They weren't deterred however, and
GPK chairperson Sri Sulartiningsih and FPJ co-ordinator Yunan told police
and TNI field commanders that “if you dare to touch us, then we dare too!”

The protest remained peaceful and was covered by more than 40 newspapers
and television stations.

The action then moved on to parliament house, demanding that the People's
Consultative Assembly (MPR) disband, as it is controlled by Suharto's
allies — the TNI, Golkar, and the “fake reformers”. One speaker explained
that the parliament produces no policies in the interests of the people.

Tamba reported that the march ended back at Tanjung Duren after protesters
vowed to organise another action soon.

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