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100 17 August University students hold Golput action

Jakarta Post - May 8, 1997

Surabaya – After scores of AirLangga University (Unair) student held a Golput [White Movement, election boycott] action some time ago, yesterday it was the turn of around 100 17 August University (Untag) Surabaya students to hold a rally. They called themselves the Kelompok Aliansi Mahasiswa Untag untuk Keadilan (Untag Student Alliance Group for Justice, AMUK).

They began their action at around 9.30pm. Initially, 60 students began gathering in front of the Untag Graha Wiyata. They just sat. Then Sesaar, one of the students appeared at the front to coordinate his other friends.

Previously the crowd of students had only sat, then they began to unfurl a number of banners. Two large banners had written on them "Golput Student Movement" and "Not Choosing is a Choice".

Aside from this, there were a number of posters with Golput themes including: "Golput is Right and Needed", "Make the Elections a Success by Golputing", "Until the Packet of 5 Political Laws are Abolished, It's better to Golput" and many others.

After around 15 minutes, a number of other students arrived. The crowd of students which at the start was only 60, grew to around 100 people. One of them came forward to lead their friends. With enthusiasm the crowd began chanting "Viva Golput", "Viva Students", "Return Sovereignty to the Hands of the People" and "Viva Democracy".

Around 10am, a number of the students began distributing political statements to other students, academics and people around the campus. After this, the crowd gathered again and speeches began. In terns, around 10 students came forward to present their orations.

After this, the crowd began to grow again. Without a command, those gathered became silent. "Yeah, we have already agreed to be silent", said the AMUK coordinator, Indra Agus P.

Although they were silent, the banners and posters were still displayed. Several moments afterwards, one of the rectors staff approached them. In the name of the rector, they were asked to break up the rally.

Apparently the crowd did not want to heed the request. In the end an argument occurred between them.

At exactly 11am, the action was closed with a political statement which included AMUK stating itself as Golput in the 1997 elections and stating its protest against the assessment that those who Golput are hampering the elections.

[Translated by James Balowski]