Jakarta – Scores of students from the National Alliance for Reform of the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) held a symbolic action at the Horse Statue monument in Central Jakarta calling for revisions to the draft law to be revealed to the public immediately.
During the action on Tuesday June 21, the students alluded to lawmakers symbolically by wearing orange jumpsuits worn by prisoners with the writing "Potential RKUHP Prisoner 001" on the back.
One of the speakers said that the RKUHP has 14 problematic articles. The protesters believe that the 2019 version of RKUHP which has been circulating has many articles which have the potential to criminalise activism, including freedom of expression.
Another speaker then invited the protesters to sing happy birthday to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. They said that this opportunity to protest may be the last time they can sing freely because after the RKUHP is ratified into law they will be singing in police custody.
"This is perhaps the last day we can sing like this, after the RKUHP is ratified we'll be singing in Polda [the regional police]", said the speaker.
Following this, the demonstrators sung a version of the happy birthday song for President Widodo in which they replaced the words "Blow out the candles" with "release the draft".
"Happy birthday Jokowi, happy birthday Jokowi. Open, open, open the draft. Open the draft right now" shouted the students as they sung.
The students also brought posters to the rally with writing about who could be subject to the RKUHP and other sarcastic comments.
"Wanted, anyone can fall foul of the RKUHP because it's reckless", read one poster held up at the action. "He he he, are you sure you want to insult me", read another.
Under the currently available draft of the RKUHP it still regulates insulting the president and vice president (Articles 218-220). Moreover this is linked to protest actions which are regulated under criminal law (Article 273).
Criminal sanctions in the RKUHP for those who insult the president and vice president has been confirmed by Justice and Human Rights Deputy Minister Edward OS Hiariej at the House of Representatives (DPR) where he was attending a meeting with Commission III on the RKUHP.
"What there is in the RKUHP are complaint offences which we added in which a complaint can be made in writing by the president or the vice president", Hiariej told journalists on May 25. (iam/kid)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiwa Demo Ultah Jokowi Pakai Kaos 'Calon Tahanan 001 RKUHP'".]