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Art action of concern regarding the national situation

Yogyakarta Committee of Concerned Youth (KKPY) - March 22, 1997

9.05 Students gather outside the Social and Political Sciences Faculty

9.30 Activist Helmi, with fist raised in air, starts the action calling on students to get involved.

9.40 Intelligence operatives identified taking notes behind a nearby car.

9.41 A march begins with students carrying posters: with the slogans: Smash the Culture of Silence; differences of opinion are not a sin; repeal the anti-subversion law, Free Budiman, Dita and other prisoners; eliminate nepotism and feudalism; The "I'll flatten you!" approach is the enemy of democracy; Mega or no elections at all!

9.42 A student wrapped in a white shroud pulls forward a coffin: "The Coffin of Dead Democracy"...

9.45 The students sang the Struggle Hymn followed by speeches analysing the national situation, outlining the sharpening conflict between the state and the people. According to key speaker Aji, the elections were the time for the democracy movement to take a stand through a boycott of the election.

9.47 Happening Art was started by Susi and Hamcrut as journalists arrived from Jakarta Post, Bernas, Jawa Pos, KR, Kompas - TPI, and Adil.

9.58 The student wrapped in a white shroud collapses on the ground, another comes up on the stage and scatters flowers over the coffin and the body on the ground. The second student is wearing a black mask and cries out about the death of democracy even before it is born.

10.09 350 students march past the Law building, causing a big traffic jam, and then on past the Philosophy and Literature buildings. Speeches called for the repeal of the 5 main repressive political laws, the ending of the role of the military in politics, and the release of Budiman, the PRD political prisoners and other political prisoners.

10.46 As the march approached the Purna Budaya building, the numbers increased to over 500.

11.03 At the Purna Budaya intersection, the rally confronted the mobile military police brigade, local garrison military and regular police. Negotiations started in a tense atmosphere. Meanwhile Art Actions began blocking traffic on the main road out of the city.

11.16 With the situation becoming even more tense, with emotions and the weather getting hotter, the crowd was increasingly exhausted. The march was led off in a different direction towards the Boulevard. The chanted started up Only Democracy, there must be democracy, seize democracy. The chants echoed out around the area..

11.23 The rally stopped at the Boulevard for more speeches and Happening Art (street theatre) activity. The crowd started up the chant "Boycott the elections".

11.30 Reaching the Bunderan area, the rally increased further in size. The military blockade shifted to the Bunderan area. There were more speeches and chanting against the repressive Political Laws and the official doctrine of a civilian role for the military.

11.47 The Happening Art came to a climax. A person wrapped in a white shroud started rolling on the ground screaming pain before the coffin of dead democracy. A person dressed in black assisted by three other people came forward carrying three containers filled with green yellow and red [the colour of three recognised political parties] liquid which are readied to be broken open over the man in white's head. (The symbolic meaning is that people are born pure and clean and then choose their colours) The person dressed in white starts to move as if he is going to choose a colour. Then three containers have their contents poured out and they all turn out to have yellow inside them. Th person in white rebels and opens his white shroud displaying in big letters the slogan "Boycott the elections" while starting up a chant "Boycott the elections" which was enthusiastically taken up by the rally.

12.01 The action ended with the reading of statements by the KKPY, the Democracy Struggle Committee from Semarang, the SRC from SADAR, the student council (SRC) from Gajah Mada University UGM, the Pijar Filsafat magazine, PPD and BPPM UGM. The different statements called on the people to unite in struggle against the New Order dictatorship and to establish democracy with the repeal of the repressive laws, the ending of the military role in politics, the freeing of the PRD and all other political prisoners and reaffirming the decision to boycott the 1997 elections. 12. 15 After burning the action paraphernalia while singing the Struggle Hymn and reading out the Student Oath and chanting "Long live the people! long live democracy! long live the students, long live the peasants, long live Megawati, long live Budiman, the rally ended in an orderly fashion.

At the time of the writing of this chronology, there are no news of arrests. The KKPY has stated that larger actions are planned in the near future.

[Chronology by Advocacy Division of KPKY. Released by PEMBEBASAN (Liberation). Translated by ASIET.]