Solidaritas.net – On Monday October 20, the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan) held protest actions in several Indonesian cities including Jakarta, Medan and Siantar in North Sumatra, Yogyakarta in Central Java, Tarakan in East Kalimantan, Palu and Poso in Central Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Ternate in North Maluku.
Pembebasan general chairperson Ari Lamodjong said that the simultaneous national actions were to oppose the return to Indonesian politics of the New Order (Orba) regime of former President Suharto.
“The return of the New Order can be seen from the enactment of the UU Pilkada [regional election law], which represents an attempt by the political elite remnants of the Orba to reawaken the values of the Orba”, said the Bung Karno University (UBK) post-graduate student.
As has been reported, the UU Pilkada stipulates that regional heads are elected by regional legislative councils (DPR) instead of being directly elected by the people. In the House of Representatives (DPR), the political parties that make up former New Order general Prabowo Subianto’s Red and White Coalition (KMP) that enacted the law, are now even planning to issue policies so the president is elected by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) instead of directly.
Pembebasan believes that Prabowo and the KMP are a creation of remnants of the New Order because leading KMP figures are the political elite that were part of Suharto inner circle and their political policies are aimed at returning Indonesia to the anti-democratic era of the New Order.
“Because of this, students and the people must unite and consolidate to eliminate the KMP from all spheres of Indonesian politics. They cannot be allowed to rule. The people must hold the power through organisations and political vehicles that they themselves have built. Don’t entrust the future to the [political] elite, including Jokowi [President Joko Widodo], much less Prabowo and the KMP who are clearly anti-democratic”, explained Lamodjong.
In Palu, Pembebasan students who are part of the Central Sulawesi Student Movement (Gema) demanded that the KMP disband itself. Earlier on Thursday October 16 in Palo, the Tadulako University (Untad) Student Movement (GMU) called for the annulment of the UU Pilkada and called on the KMP to be expelled from the national parliament.
In Tarakan, Pembebasan protesters brought posters with pictures of the logos of the political parties that make up the KMP, Prabowo’s Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), the Golkar Party, the United Development Party (PPP), former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party, the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party (PAN). The student said that these parties are the “betrayers of democracy”.
In Yogyakarta meanwhile, Pembebasan and residents of the nearby coastal town of Parangtritis united under the banner of the Alliance of Oppressed Indonesian People (ARIT) to hold a free speech forum in the Jl. Malioboro shopping district. The protesters also distributed leaflets and brought banners with messages such as “Repeal the UU Pilkada”.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Pembebasan: Singkirkan Koalisi Merah Putih dari Arena Politik Indonesia!.]