Jakarta – More than 500 students from the East Java Muhammadiyah Student Association (IMM) held a Defend Palestine action on Tuesday November 7 in which they descended on United States Consulate General (Konjen) in the provincial capital Surabaya.
The hundreds of students, who wore red-coloured jackets and carried Palestinian flags, then walked and trampled on three Israeli flags that were laid out on the road.
The protesters, who came from Surabaya and the satellite cities of Sidoarjo, Gresik and Lamongan, even blockaded Jalan Citra Raya Niaga in front of the US Consulate.
"We are in front of the US Konjen, which is Israel's ally. Let's expel the US Konjen, do you agree comrades. Expel! Expel! Expel!", said one of the speakers from the command vehicle.
The speaker said that Israel and America are allies that have both committed humanitarian crimes in Palestine. According to the students, whoever carries out and supports imperialism must leave Indonesia.
Only recently, they said, America under the leadership of US President Joe Biden, passed a law on providing US$14,3 billion or 226 trillion rupiah in aid for Israel.
This was done by Uncle Sam in the midst of Israel's blind aggression in the Gaza Strip. More than 9,000 people have been killed, more than half of which are women and children.
Never mind the financial and military assistance that has been sent to Israel before this during the presidency of Barak Obama. In 2017-2018 America signed an agreement to provide US$38 billion or 546 trillion rupiah in military aid to Israel.
"America is Israel's true ally. They have sent more than 800 trillion rupiah in funds and weapons [to Israel] and this is being used to slaughter our sisters and brothers in Palestine. So there is no other word than, expel, expel, expel!", they continued.
IMM action coordinator Jatim Ali Mustain said that though today's action they want to strongly condemn what is being done by Israel against the residents of Gaza.
"We condemn all forms of Israeli Zionist military attacks against civilians that are in Palestine", Mustain said during a break in the action.
The IMM also condemned the US for providing military aid to Israel that is being used to attack Palestine.
"Aside from condemning them, we also call for a boycott of all types of products produced by the United States", he said. "The Konjen or United States Embassy must also be expelled from Indonesia", added Mustain.
The action was closed with a shalat gaib (prayers for the dead) which was held in the middle of the road. The rally ended with the Israeli flags being torn up.
Meanwhile as many as 300 joint personnel from the East Java regional police (Polda), the Surabaya metropolitan district police (Polrestabes) and the Lakarsantri sectoral police (Polsek) could be seen on guard along the length of the road in front of the US Consulate.
A number of police tactical vehicles were also on standby near the location including a water cannon, a crowd control vehicle and a fire engine. Police also installed layers of razor wire along Jalan Citra Raya Niaga up to the US Consulate General's front gate. (frd/DAL)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Massa Aksi Solidaritas Palestina Geruduk Konjen AS di Surabaya".]