Report by: Ulfa Ilyas
Thousands of people from various elements of society carried out a protest to mark the inauguration of SBY and Boediono as President and VP around national parliament building Jakarta today (October 20th).
They demanded the president to put an end to neoliberal policies during his second term, because the system has been proven failed and brought suffering to the people of the world, including Indonesia.
The spokeperson of the Street Parliament Alliance (APJ), Lalu Hilman Afriandi, stated the above in Senayan, Jakarta.
"In the last 5 years, the government has been busy seeking foreign loans. Up to August 2009, our debt had reached $160.64 billion and each year it added hundreds of trillion rupiah into the state budget. This policy is not only a burden to the state budget, but also an opening for foreign interest that seek the implementation of neoliberal policies, such as the selling of SOEs, trade liberalization, bank deregulation, liberalization of education, etc." he added.
Lalu Hilman explained that what have been happening is using debt to pay debt, creating vicious circle where debt feed on itself.
Meanwhile, Dominggus Oktavianus, the chairperson of the National Front of Indonesia's Labour Struggle (FNPBI) said that neoliberal policies cause deindustrialisation and bankrupt national industry that supposed to be able to provide jobs and produce goods for people's need. Currently, informal worker sector has reached 70% of the total labour force. Some of them are laid off workers and young workers who are not absorbed by the industry.
"It means that beside intensifying lay-offs, neoliberalism from the outset has shrunken the labour market. This is exacerbated by the spread of contract system, outsourcing, and low wage politics,"
At the same place, the chairperson of the Indonesian Poor Union (SRMI), Marlo Sitompul, hopes that the president would address the rights of the poor. "Especially as his second term was marked by the Bank Century case that was indicated to cause the lost of Rp. 6.7 trillion of public money. The new government should not be too confident, because this case has clearly hurt their credibility among the people, even among their own voters," explained Marlo.
The protest, filled with posters and banners titled "Put An End!" went peacefully despite heavy police presence.
Similar demonstrations occurred in dozens of other areas in Indonesia. In Makassar of South Sulawesi province, more than a thousand mass came to Liberation West Irian memorial monument to declare Stop the neoliberal regime. Demonstrations also occurred in the capital city of other provinces such as East Java, Central Java, West Java, Jambi, Riau, North Sumatra, Aceh, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. The nationwide simultaneous action is coordinated by the People's Democratic Party (PRD).
On August 25, 2009, a demonstration was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, organised by the Parliament of the Streets Alliance at the inauguration of newly elected members of parliament. The protesters demanded free education for all citizens, free health programs, employment and housing programs for poor people.
Henri Anggoro, a leader of the Poor People’s Union (Serikat Rakyat Miskin Indonesia, SRMI), which organises in the sprawling shanty towns, said that experience has shown that parliament ignores the interests of the people. "They only represent the interests of a handful of people, rather than representing the people who elected them", he said.
Anggoro challenged the new legislators to advance the political agenda of democracy instead of giving priority to the interests of a handful of elite and foreign parties. He demanded popular participation, particularly in policy making and the national budget.
The Parliament of Streets Alliance has begun organising local councils, which could become the embryo of a parliament of the people, Henri said.
[Ulfa Ilyas writes for Berdikari Online, visit http://papernas.org/berdikari/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=442&Itemid=44.]
Taken from : http://links.org.au/node/1225
Legal roads for justice was blocked for the residents of Suluk Bongkal village, whose houses and properties was attacked and burned down last month by hundreds of police and thugs following years of land dispute with a pulp producing company PT Arara Abadi. On January 17th the Bengkalis State Court rejected their lawsuit against PT Arara. The Human Rights Commission that initially condemned the state apparatus and the company has so far failed in bringing any concrete follow-up. In the meantime, the company with the help of police and thugs had expanded evictions to other villages.
In light of these facts, the Riau Peasant Movement (STR) and SORAK, a coalition of social movement and environmental groups, held several protests to condemn the blatant violation of rule of law by the state institutions and the company. On Wednesday morning (21/1) they started a "long march" from Tarik Serai village and arrived in Riau Province capital, Pekanbaru, on Monday (26/1) - covering the distance of 300 km. The walk is meant to rally the moral of resistance among the peasants, as well as to campaign, in each villages that was passed, for peasants' rights and the resistance against the tyrany of the company and state apparatus. Below is an explanation by STR chairperson, Rinaldi, in an interview with Berdikari Online:
Wednesday, January 21st
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
We heard that there will be a long march from Tasik Serai Timur village to Pekanbaru, which will cover the distance of 300 km. What is the peasants' reason in taking this action?
Yes, actually the correct one is from Tasik Serai village to East Village. We are doing it because we realise that we have to consolidate all of our mass basis that recently become victims of repression by land mafia, land-grabbing companies, and police apparatus. By walking in this distance we will be able to visit each village, to convey our message and tell story about our struggle in village meetings, to every village residents. The culmination will be on this 29 January 2009, which is the 40th days since the attack on Suluk Bongkal village. The point is, we will spread the message from Suluk Bongkal peasants, who are carrying out a resistance against the land-grabbing company, to peasants in other villages that face similar situation.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
How many people will take part in this walk? Will there be other organisation involved in it?
So the total number of peasants that left this morning were 38 people. Besides us, STR, some organisations involved are Riau Peasants Group, UNRI (Riau Univ.) Nature Loving Students (MAPALA)
BO: How is the technical preparations, for example, logistics, medics, security, etc. Have they been prepared?
So we have a team that in every few hours will comb the location that has been passed, as well as report the situation in the field and the condition of the peasants that are taking part in the action. We decided to take rest once every 2 hours, and in each villages there will be kitchen soups. Besides that, we will hold meetings and discussions with residents of every village that we pass.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
What are the campaign or issue carried during the walk?
So the campaign or issue is to call on the villagers that join or sympathise with us, to save their village from evictions carried out by PT. Arara Abadi. Second, to call on the forest workers of PT Arara Abadi that we will meet in several locations to get involved in the common struggle. Third, to bring awareness to each village of the human rights violation committed by the police. Fourth, to press the government to solve the agrarian conflict and to defend the peasants. Fifth, to push that the 75 peasants arrested by the police be freed. Sixth, we are also denouncing the release letter (SP3) issued for 13 companies that are clearly lumber thiefs and land-grabber of people's property. Finally, we will press demand to the national police HQ or the central government to immediately dismiss Riau Police Chief.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
What is the target to be achieved from this campaign or issues?
The target that we want to achieve is to regain the moral of resistance among the peasants, and then to create a broad consolidation that will involve other villages that experience similar problem. The peasants have been in fear after the Suluk Bongkal tragedy, when they were hunted, had to hide in the forest, among other things. With this "long march", the peasants will at least know that STR still exist, STR still faithfully fight with the peasants, and will carry on the struggle. We feel that this is hard, but slowly but sure the victory will be on our side. We also want to open everybody's eyes, not just the peasants', to better comprehend this issue, both through mass media coverage of our action as well as from hearing about our campaign and directly reading our flyers, pamphletes, among others.
As well known, the long march will be a big burden, will demand a multitude physical preparation, but we are convinced that after this there will be a wave of support from many elements of the society to the peasants and STR.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
STR campaign this time, reminds me of the Zapatistas 2006 campaign; the walk from Chiapas to Mexico City while carrying their causes and issues. There was also the chinese peasants 8000 miles long march that took one year. Is STR's walk inspired by the Zapatista, or a decision that STR and Riau peasants made together themselves?
To us, those were sources of inspiration for the struggle of the peasants here. But, the peasants in Riau do not have a lofty target, because they (the Zapatistas), if I'm not mistaken, carried out a campaign that went for one year. So, the peasant action here is only intended to rally the moral of struggle among the peasants, and pass on messages among them to forge the struggle and unity among the peasants. STR also call on other peasants to bring themselves together in to organisations of peasant struggle so that they can fight corporate greed and its apparatus (the regional police). We are hopeful that after the action, there will be a wave of collective civil lawsuit to fight against the presence of PT Arara Abadi.
Of course, the success of this campaign will require the support of network and friends from outside; journalists, student activists, popular organisations, NGOs, as well as other parties that sympathise with this struggle.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO) :
How will STR draw support from the people in the villages that it pass, especially to support STR campaign and other peasants?
Rinaldi (STR) :
To draw support, we will hold a series of open discussion, spread flyers, calls. As for flyers, the content of the campaign will be updated once every two days. Our friends in Pekanbaru will write and print flyers, and then send them to us to be distributed. Everytime we will meet with peasants, whether it be on the streets, fields, as well as their houses, we will give them flyers, rally their spirit so that they will remain determined to defend and fight for their rights.
The peasants will also engage in discussion everytime they meet with other peasants. From limited meetings, from coffe stalls, from ear to ear, our message will eventually spread to everyone. From here, we hope that it will raise a common awareness of the importance to unite the struggle against common enemy.
Ulfa Ilyas (BO):
Is STR sure that the method will benefit Suluk Bongkal peasants and win their demands? Or there are other methods carried out in parallel with the walk?
Rinaldi (STR) :
Yes, this is only one among other stages that we call Back in Solid. In this stage, we will comb and solidify peasants that are still determined to fight on. Through the "long march", peasants from many villages will see that STR still exist and is still in the front line of the fight for peasants' rights. This will not only be carried out on STR basis, but also in areas that are not STR basis. Afterwards, after the end of this long march, we will carry out an evaluation, and discuss about the next method of struggle. We would like to point out here that Suluk Bongkal peasants and STR would carry the struggle not only in this way, but in many way, including holding mass protests at the regional police office and Riau governor.
After this, there will be a collective civil lawsuit, from organisations as well as individual peasants that are hurt by the presence of PT Arara Abadi. The point is, after this action there will be a renewed and multiplied spirit from the peasants, to carry on the struggle. The peasants will also better realise that the struggle for their rights require sacrifices and persistence.
Considering the high need of logistics, the working committee for "300 km walk" asks for some moral as well as material support from anyone who sympathises with the peasants. Those who want to support the struggle of Riau peasants can do so by calling the information centre at +62-852-788-81387; support in the form of fund can also be transfered directly to the bank account below:
Bank Nasional Indonesia (BNI)
cabang/branch Pasar Pusat Pekanbaru
account number 011 939 8122
An./under the name: Rinaldi Read more...