Jakarta (BM) – Protesters calling themselves the Civil Society Alliance Against the Draft Criminal Code (RUU KUHP) held a rally on Monday February 12 in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) rejecting the draft law which they say is anti-democratic.
During the rally on Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta, which began at around 3pm, the demonstrators took turns at giving speeches and brought various banners to the action.
Security at the DPR building meanwhile was not very tight although razor wire had been erected and a Barracuda armoured vehicle was on standby at the front gate. Although the protest did not spill onto Jl. Gatot Subroto there was still traffic congestion in front of the DPR.
The demonstrators were protesting several articles in the RUU KUHP such as those on insulting the president which they said was the same thing as silencing anti-government critics.
"For example it undermines democracy, defamation against the president will be restored [as a crime]. And insulting the authority of the state. These are VIP articles, just saying something, not to insult but to criticise, and you get jailed", the group's public relations officer Riska Carolina told journalists.
In addition to this, one the issues the protesters object to is the articles on adultery which according to the group could result in many people being abruptly jailed.
"If [existing laws] are augmented with the enactment of this law, then criminalisation will increase, jails will be filled with jails", said Riska.
The group has three demands that they want the DPR to listen to in deliberating the RKUHP. First that they reject the current draft revisions to the criminal code.
Second, the protesters are calling on the DPR to re-discuss the RKUHP with a decolonialisation approach based on the constitutional rights of citizens and the involvement of other parties.
Third, the RKUHP must side with and protect the ordinary people and not become a political commodity for employers.
A number of transgender women (waria) also took part in the rally saying that they feel that they will be criminalised if the RKUHP is ratified. This demand was articulated by a speaker on the command vehicle.
"How can the gender rights of our waria friends be protected. They have [the right] to make [life] choices", said one women in a speech.
The DPR has approved an extension to the working mandate of the RUU KUHP special committee (pansus).
"Level 2 deliberations on Law Number 17/2014 on the MD3 [Legislative Institutions Law] along with the RUU Tipikor [anti-corruption law], the RUU KUHP, the RUU on justices' appointments, the RUU MK [Constitutional Court]", said DPR Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon when reading out the plenary committee's agenda at the DPR building in Senayan, South Jakarta, on Monday.
There were no objections to the extension of the RUU KUHP special committee's working mandate from those present. When asked if they agreed, all of the members present declared their agreement. "The extension to the pansus' working mandate is agreed", declared Zon.
DPR Speaker Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) meanwhile said that they must be realistic about the working mandate of the special committee saying that the committee still needs more time to finalise the deliberations.
"We must be realistic because there are several articles that are still being discussed and debated so we decided earlier that the consultative body will continue [the deliberations] in the next session", he said. (det/tit)
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Aliansi Masyarakat Sipil demo tolak RUU KUHP di depan gedung DPR".]