Makassar – Students from the Total Reformasi Struggle Front (FPRT) held a protest action on Jalan AP Pettarani in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar on Friday May 21. They were commemorating reformasi or the May 21, 1998 anniversary of former president Suharto announcing that he would step down from the presidency.
During the action, they called for reformasi chapter 2 to be undertaken now. The protest action ended after it was forcibly broken up by police.
Initially, the rally proceeded without incident with speakers taking turns giving speeches using a megaphone. They articulated a number of demands and put up banners.
These included demanding that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo be brought down, that the Omnibus Law on Job Creation be annulled, a rejection of New Order politics and fake reformers, the investigation of abducted activists, revoking Presidential Regulation Number 32/2018, rejecting Suharto as a national hero, rejecting the foreign debt, rejecting foreign investors and promoting state-owned enterprises, free and quality face-to-face education and rejecting the weakening of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
"We demand the government realise free and quality education and implement face-to-face education by maintaining health protocols", said field coordinator Riang Egi Saputra in a speech.
In the middle of the protest, demonstrators brought used tyres which they set fire to in the middle of the road. The flames took hold. Smoke rose into the sky. The police became angry.
The police then approached the demonstrators intending to disperse them. The protesters ran and scattered, but the police pursued those trying to save themselves from being arrested.
Two people were arrested and there is still no official explanation from the police as to why the protest was broken up. The identities of those arrested have not been released. (mir/bmw/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tuntut Reformasi Jilid 2, Demo Mahasiswa Dibubarkan Aparat".]