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Students demand release of farmers, condemn US aggression in Iraq

Detik.com - March 20, 2007

Zainal Effendi, Surabaya – Scores of protesters from the National Student Front (FMN) demonstrated at the East Java Regional Police Headquarters on Jl. Achmad Yani in the provincial capital of Surabaya on Tuesday March 20 demanding the release of recently detained farmers and condemning US agression in Iraq.

The student action proceeded in a relaxed fashion. Other than giving speeches, they simply sat at the main entrance to the police headquarters. Their effort to enter the building failed after they were stopped by police officers guarding the entrance.

In speeches the students urged the police to release 27 farmers that are still in detention at the Banyuwangi district police station over a recent land dispute in Kalibaru between farmers and the state-owned plantation company PTPN XIII.

Action coordinator Ridwan Lukman explained that the action was held in order to get the farmers released immediately. “We are also demanding responsibly from the United State for the invasion of Iraq four years ago up until now”, said Ridwan.

A number of students also brought banners with messages such as “Save the victims of disasters, release the 27 Banyuwangi farmers unconditionally, health and nutritional food guarantees and compensation for the rice paddies and land of the victims of the Lapindo [mud disaster]”.

The action, which even confused journalists because of the issues taken up were too global, broke up after two representatives handed a petition over to police. (gik/asy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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