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Roundup of demonstrations against fuel price hikes

[The following is a compilation of abridged translations on demonstrations between September 16-25 against the government's plan to increase fuel prices by as much as 60 per cent on October 1.]

Malang students oppose fuel price increases

Detik.com - September 16, 2005

Budi Hartadi, Malang – Actions opposing fuel price increase are continuing in Malang, East Java. On September 16 around 100 students demonstrated against the policies of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (SBY-Kalla) which they believe will only cause the people suffering.

The students came from a number of groups including Student Executive Councils from a number of different universities, the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the Independence Workers Union (SPM), Kobar (Workers Committee for Reform Action) and Forhap.

With the fuel price hikes said the students, Yudhoyono and Kalla are totally failing to side with the people who elected them in 2004. "If they indeed side with the people, the government would not increase fuel prices", said action coordinator Tino.

According to Tino, actions are again being held because Yudhoyono and Kalla have broken their campaign promises where they promised a clean government and to eliminate corruption, provide employment, increases economic growth and not to increase fuel prices.

"Fuel price increases will only increase the difficulties of the poor. Unemployment will spread further. The government's promise to provide compensation will not be felt by the people because it will be eaten up by government officials", said Tino. Because of this continued Tino, students are calling for Yudhoyono and Kalla to step down. "We don't need a reshuffle of their cabinet ministers", he asserted. (umi)

Four groups in Makassar demonstrate against fuel price hikes

Tempo Interactive - September 19, 2005

Irmawati, Makassar – Four student groups in Makassar demonstrated against the government's plan to increase fuel prices next October. They held the action in front of the South Sulawesi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on Monday September 19.

The four groups were the South Sulawesi Regional Student Movement, the Indonesia Muslim University (UMI) Student Executive Council (BEM), the Anti-Neoliberalism People's Network and students from the Makassar State University.

Starting at 10am, the four groups arrived in succession at the DPRD and at the end three of the groups joined up at the parliament grounds. Although they were taking up the same issue – opposing the planed fuel price increases – the students held speeches and organised activities separately. As a result, the atmosphere at the parliament grounds became loud and noisy.

In a speech, the chairperson of the student group for the liberation of the South Sulawesi region, Harkam, took up a number of demands including opposing foreign intervention in determining fuel policy because this is a form of economic colonialism, the return of the people's rights to over the ownership of fuel as public property and for businesspeople to manage oil based on Islamic law.

The BEM demonstrators from UMI continued their action by going to the Makassar VII Marketing Unit of the state oil company Pertamina that is located on Jalan Garuda. During their action they called on the marketing unit general manager,  Andi Syafruddin, to sign a contract declaring opposition the planed price hikes and to deal with those speculating in and hoarding fuel.

Students 'seal off' petrol station owned by deputy governor

Tempo Interactive - September 20, 2005

Faidil Akbar, Serang – Around 500 students from a number of colleges in Banten, West Java, demonstrated against planned fuel price hikes on September 20. During the action, the students "sealed off" a petrol station owned by the deputy governor of Banten, Ratu Atut Chosiyah.

Before going to the petrol station, demonstrators blockaded the Jalan Ciceri intersection causing a massive traffic jam. They also distributed leaflets containing their demands, gave speeches and held a happening-art action.

"As an oil producing country, the increase of world oil prices should add to the Indonesian people's prosperity because of increasingly large oil profits, but why with world oil prices becoming more expensive is the suffering of the people in the country increasing" said student coordinator Zulkarnain.

Students waylay Pertamina tanker and burn Golkar flags

Detik.com - September 22, 2005

Ahmad Dani, Jakarta – Actions against planed fuel price hikes continue. This time students voiced their opposition by waylaying a Pertamina fuel truck and burning Golkar Party flags. The action was organised by students from the Earth Top United Student Action in Jakarta on Thursday September 22.

Initially the group held the action in front of the State Palace but in the middle of the demonstration they received information that a Pertamina fuel truck would pass the nearby Radio Republic Indonesia building. Ten students left the demonstration and after catching their "pray" climbed on top of the truck which had been stopped by the driver.

From on top the truck the students called on Pertamina to end corruption and threatened to distribute the fuel in the truck to the people. However the action did not last long because police moved quickly to remove the students and ordered them to return to the demonstration in front of the State Palace. Outnumbered by police the students did as they were told.

Golkar flags were also burnt by the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Student Executive Council. One of the students in a speech said that the crisis, which has befallen the Indonesian nation, was because of Golkar's actions. (iy)

Jambi students hijack fuel truck

Tempo Interactive - September 22, 2005

Syaipul Bakhori, Jambi – On September 22, around 500 students from Jambi in Central Sumatra demonstrated against planned fuel price hikes by hijacking a fuel truck.

Students had been giving speeches since 8.30am at the Telanaipura intersection when a fuel truck passed by which was immediately hijacked and then taken to the Jambi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD). The truck was held for three hours until a member of the DPRD declared they were prepared to meet with representatives of the demonstrators.

The demonstrators came from a number of groups including the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the Jambi Chapter of the National Student Front (FMN) and the Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII).

In speeches students called on the government not to increase fuel prices because it would add to the suffering of the people by triggering increases to the price of basic goods. Students also called for the arrest and trial of corrupters and that their assets be seized to subsidies the people.

Students hijack fuel truck and burn Golkar flags

Kompas Cyber Media - September 22, 2005

Jakarta – Hundreds of students demonstrated in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on September 22 opposing the government's plan to increase fuel prices. They also hijacked a fuel truck and burnt Golkar Party flags.

Although the students were from two groups they demonstrated jointly at the Palace. The first group comprised some 200 students from the United Mercubuana Revolutionary Students from the West Java University of Mercubuana. Prior to arriving at the Palace they hijacked a fuel truck owned by the state oil company Pertamina although police secured it when they arrived at the Palace.

During the action they burnt Golkar flags as protest against the party leadership's support for the fuel price increase. They also symbolically "sealed off" the Palace with placards with the writing "Sealed by the People".

The second group comprised some 500 students from the University of Indonesia Student Executive Council (BEM) and the Jakarta Indonesian Muslim Students Action Front (KAMMI).

A statement by KAMMI included calls to oppose the fuel price hikes, the nationalisation of oil companies and the provision of alternative energy for the people such as gas, coal and nuclear power. In BEM's statement they called for an audit of Pertamina, opposed the fuel price hikes, demanded that funds to compensate the poor reach their target and called for an evaluation of the cabinet and economic policy.

Yudhoyono and Kalla given rotten vegetables and fruit

Detik.com - September 24, 2005

Nurvita Indarini, Jakarta – What's the pleasure in eating rotten vegetables and fruit? That was the gift demonstrators gave the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (SBY-JK) at the State Palace on September 24 for their rotten promise not to raise fuel prices.

The action was organised by around 500 people from the People's Independence Front (Barisan Rakyat Merdeka, BRM) who demonstrated on October 1 at the State Palace. Demonstrators also threatened to hold a general strike on September 29.

Some 50 social organisations joined the action including the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the People's Youth Union, the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Farmers Youth and the Student Executive Council from the Political and Social Sciences Institute.

Demonstrators also held a theatrical action that depicted the food and fuel crisis in which seven farmers painted in black wept for the rotten fruit and vegetables next to a chicken cage and drum of oil. The farmers then gave the fruit and vegetables to someone playing the part of the government while asking the government to find a means to overcome poverty.

"SBY-JK only sell rotten promises. The people must queue for kerosene at 2,500 rupiah per litre, and this is improper. So fuel price increases must be rejected. This policy is blatantly anti-people", said one of the speakers. (aan)

Farmers and women demonstrate against fuel price hikes in Palu

Detik.com - September 25, 2005

Jafar G Bua, Palu - The wave of demonstrations against fuel price hikes continues to grow. On September 24 hundreds of youths, students, women and farmers from a number of organisations demonstrated in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

Demonstrators held a long-march through Palu and handed out leaflets. In a speech, the regional chairperson of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), Marten Sibarani said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla had failed to overcome the economic crisis and improve the welfare of the people. The cuts to fuel subsidies are evidence of this failure he said. (gtp)

Thousands of workers demonstrate at state palace

Detik.com - September 25, 2005

Veronika Kusuma Wijayanti, Jakarta - Although it was a holiday it didn't mean the wage of demonstrations against fuel price hikes stopped. Following a demonstration by Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, thousands of workers went to the State Palace to condemn the fuel price hikes planned for October 1.

The demonstrators calling themselves the Association of Independent Trade Unions held the action on September 25. The workers believe that the fuel price increases will add to the pressures being faced by ordinary people and that some 40.4 million people are living in poverty.

They also said that diesel fuel price increase would be taken advantage of by business. "The fuel price hikes will be an excuse for business not to increase wages and to sack workers", said one of the speakers. Demonstrators also brought a number of posters with messages such as "Oppose fuel price hikes" and "Reduce the prices of basic goods for the people". (ton)

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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