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Hundreds of students take to Jakarta's streets calling for Jokowi's impeachment

CNN Indonesia - February 7, 2024

Jakarta – Hundreds of students from a number of different campuses gathered at the 12 May Reformasi Monument in front of the Trisakti University campus in Jakarta on Wednesday February 7 to protest against the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

They gathered for an action calling for "Jokowi's impeachment" and to "Reject the Fraudulent Elections".

The demonstrators, who had been arriving since 3.17 pm, did not wear any special clothing with some wearing black T-shirts, white shirts and others campus alma mater jackets.

There were also three buses parked in front of the monument waiting to transport the hundreds of students to the main action in the Harmoni area near the State Palace.

At around 3.20 the students began marching towards Harmoni. "Let's impeach Jokowi, let's bring down Jokowi today", said the action coordinator from the command vehicle.

During the "Action to Impeach Jokowi" with hashtags #ImpeachJokowi (#MakzulkanJokowi) and #Rejectthe FraudulentElections (#TolakPemiluCurang), the students took up four main demands and 10 issues:

1. Impeach President Joko Widodo;

2. Boycott the political parties that do not support President Widodo's impeachment;

3. Urging Widodo's ministers to resign from the cabinet;

4. Calling for protests throughout Indonesia until President Widodo is impeached.

In addition to this, there were 10 issues raised covering election fraud, corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN), agrarian conflicts, the monopoly of natural resources, environmental damage, costly education and healthcare, civil freedoms, economic and gender justice, violence by the authorities and anti-people legal products.

Election billboards burnt

During the march from the Trisakti University to Harmoni, the protesters also damaged and tore down the billboards advertising legislative candidates that had been put up along the roads in the Grogol area.

A speaker from the command vehicle shouted, "Pull them down, pull them down" as the protesters rolled up the billboards and placed them on the side of the road.

The billboards taken down included those belonging to the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

"The political parties today cannot be trusted", said one of the speakers. The students then set fire to the billboards.

Tegar, a student from the Nahdlatul Ulama University said that they removed and damaged the billboards as a symbolic action to show their disappointment with the political parties (parpol) and legislative candidates (caleg) that have never represented the interests of the ordinary people.

"We removed the billboards because the parpol and caleg have never represented the public's interest. They just create visual pollution in the streets", said Tegar.

During the march they carried a number of posters criticising the Widodo leadership and the fraudulent elections.

One of the participants even brought a large piece of cardboard containing the six sins of Jokowi: Legal products that are not-pro people and democracy; corruption, collusion and nepotism; monopoly over agrarian sources; expensive education and healthcare; environmental destruction; and repressive actions by the authorities.

Half-way through the march towards Harmoni, students decided to stop and give speeches "Friends please sit down, we will give speeches", said one of the demonstrators from the command vehicle.

Because they took up more than half of the road, traffic on Jalan Tomang Raya towards Harmoni became heavily congested.

Metro Jakarta district police chief Senior Commissioner Purnomo Condro said they planned to close off roads in the Harmoni area. He added that 2,250 personnel had been deployed to safeguard the action. "A total of 2,250 (security) personnel", he said when sought for confirmation.

Altercation with police

When the students finally arrived at the Harmoni traffic intersection towards late afternoon, they were greeted by scores of police officers who blocked their way and were armed with truncheons.

There, the protesters gathered and gave speeches on Jalan Majapahit that had been closed off by police with concrete barriers and razor wire.

Police officers could be seen standing on guard at several points including at the rear of the demonstrators and behind the concrete barriers. In addition to the police, scores of officers wearing TNI (Indonesian military) uniforms could be seen standing behind the fence.

Several students also managed to get into an argument with police officers wearing plain clothing after they heard that one of their comrades had been hit by a police helmet. When the situation began to become heated, several other students intervened and a clash was avoided.

"Today is proof that the state is not okay at all!", shouted a speaker from the command vehicle.

Evening prayers

At around 6.22 pm the demonstrators behind the State Palace stopped giving speeches momentarily when one of the students echoed the call to evening prayers from the command vehicle.

Meanwhile fires continued to burn behind the command vehicle from the billboards of legislative candidates that they had brought with them from Jalan Grogol.

In addition to the legislative candidate billboards, a billboard for one of the presidential and vice presidential tickets was also burnt, namely the number 2 ticket of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Widodo's eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

As the call to prayer ended, the flames from the fires were still visible. As of 6.42 protesters were still continuing the action and calling for Widodo to be impeached.

"Bring down, bring down, bring down Jokowi. Bring down Jokowi now", shouted the students. Following this the students read out the students pledge.

Not the last action

Towards late afternoon the students in the vicinity of the Palace began disbanding.

"This action represents an action to spark a fire, not our last action", said action coordinator Fadli from the Jakarta Veteran National Development University (UPN) Student Executive Council (BEM) at the site of the action.

Although most of the demonstrators returned to the Kopaja busses that accompanied them on the march earlier, a number appeared dissatisfied that the action had ended and gathered in the middle of the road and set fire to tyres and their protest banners.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski based on seven articles by CNN Indonesia on February 7. The original title of the lead article was "Massa Mahasiswa Kumpul di Tugu 12 Mei Trisakti, Aksi Pemakzulan Jokowi".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240207153559-617-1059849/massa-mahasiswa-kumpul-di-tugu-12-mei-trisakti-aksi-pemakzulan-jokow