Home > South-East Asia >> Indoleft

Fuel price hikes spark mass protests across Indonesia

Detik.com/Tempo Interactive - May 26, 2008

[The following is a compilation of abridged translations of demonstrations across Indonesia against the government’s fuel price increase on May 22.]

Two students in Ambon arrested for burning pictures of Yudhoyono

Mochtar Touwe, Ambon – Two students from the Darussalam University the Central Maluku regency of Salahutu were arrested by police for burning pictures of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Rahman Ali, the chairperson of the Student Executive Council (BEM) teachers’ faculty and Ilham Souwakil, the chairperson of the Administrative Study Program at the Faculty of Social and Political Science were arrested after they burnt the pictures of the president during a demonstration against the recent fuel price hikes on May 22. They are currently being question by the Ambon district police. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Public transport drivers strike in Jambi ends in clash

Syaipul Bakhori, Jambi – A strike by city public transport drivers in Jambi city, East Nusa Tenggara regency today ended in a clash leaving three drivers injured.

The incident began when protesting drivers were demanding that the regional government increase transport fares to compensate for the fuel price hikes. During the action they forcibly stopped other public transport vehicles that were passing the demonstration.

Police intervened and removed the demonstrators saying they could demonstrate at the Rawasari bus terminal instead. Security personnel at the terminal prohibited them from demonstrating and a clash broke out between the drivers and Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) officials. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Traditional fisherpeople in Kota Baru protest fuel price hikes

Khaidir Rahman, Banjarmasin – As many as 250 traditional fisherpeople in the Kota Baru regency of South Kalimantan demonstrated at the Regional House of Representatives today demanding that the government control retail prices and monitor fuel prices.

According to Kota Baru Saijaan Fishers Union chairperson Arbain the retail price of kerosene has reached as much as 3,500 to 4,000 rupiah a liter. “And the commodity is also scares” he said. Fisherpeople have switched to kerosene after the price of diesel fuel rose to between 7,000 to 8,000 rupiah per liter.

The protesters, who carried empty jerry cans during the demonstration, said they would give the DPRD and the Kota Baru government one month to issue a policy on the retail price of kerosene and diesel fuel. “If not, we will bring even larger number of protesters to the streets than now”, said Arbain when speaking with Tempo. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Public transport strike over fuel price hikes paralyses Kupang

Jems De Fortuna, Kupang – Transportation was totally paralysed in the West Timor city of Kupang on May 26 when hundreds of city public transport workers went on strike demanding that the government review the recent fuel price increase. “We will not operate the vehicles until the government agrees to our demands and increases city public transport fares”, said one of the drivers.

The action, which was centred at the Kupang Regional House of Representatives and the East Nusa Tenggara governor’s office, resulted in traffic congestion in the direction of the El Tari Airport, the government office complex and the Kupang shopping district. Drivers and owners of public transport vehicles blockaded the road and took vehicles with red number plates (government owned) hostage. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Semarang students launch hunger strike over fuel price hikes

Triono Wahyu Sudibyo, Semarang – Although the government has gone ahead and raised the price of fuel, it does not mean that protests against the policy will stop. Scores of protesters from the Indonesian Muslim Students Action Front (KAMMI) held a hunger strike at the East Java governor’s office in the provincial capital of Surabaya on May 26.

The protesters started the action at the Semarang foundation roundabout then marched to the governor’s office some 150 metres away. All of the participants – except the person giving speeches – covered their mouths with black plaster. They also wore head bands and carried banners with the message “Hunger strike to oppose the fuel price hikes”.

“Viva the people... viva the people”, shouted the student acting as orator with gusto. The other protesters however were only able to respond in mumbles. Understand that their mouths were covered with plaster. “Humm... Humm!”

The students said they plan continue the protest by staying over night at the governor’s office. (Detik.com, 26/5/2008)

Workers in Surabaya demand better wages and conditions

Rohman Taufiq, Surabaya -- Thousands of workers from the All Indonesia Trade Union (SPSI) protested at the East Java Regional House of Representatives in the provincial capital of Surabaya on Monday demanding that the government revise the regional minimum wage following the fuel price increases.

As well as giving speeches using a sound system on an open pickup truck, the protesters also brought posters and banners with messages such as “Fuel can go up, but workers’ welfare must also go up”, “Fuel increases workers are strangled” and “All workers must obtain direct cash subsidies plus an increased minimum wage”.

Speaking with Tempo, East Java SPSI chairperson Ismail Syarif said that the protesters came from five cities -- Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Gresik, Mojokerto and Pasuruan. According to Syarif the demonstration was a ‘warm up’ and protest would be continued until the East Java government raised the minimum wage. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Transport drivers strike in Surabaya, thousand of passengers stranded

Rohman Taufiq, Surabaya – City public transport drivers from across the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya went on strike today urging the government to provide them with special subsidies or cheap fuel.

“We will remain on strike until the government provides special subsidies for public transport or at the least we are provided with an alternative cheap fuel so that we can still buy fuel”, said Wastomi Suhairi, the head of the Surabaya Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda).

Aside from the strike action, later in the afternoon the drivers also plan to protest at the East Java Regional House of Representatives. Thousand of passengers were stranded due to the strike. Strikers also stopped taxies and city buses that were still operating forcing the passengers out of the vehicles. (Tempo Interactive, 26/5/2008)

Workers in Jakarta demand cancellation of fuel price hikes

Didi Syafirdi, Jakarta – Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara was blocked to traffic by thousands of demonstrators in front of the State Palace demanding that the government cancel the recent fuel price increases.

The demonstrators, who came from All Indonesia Trade Union (SPSI), had been gathering since 11am arriving from the nearby Gambir train station on foot and by bus. The protesters brought a number of posters with messages such as “If fuel prices go up, workers will be unemployed” and “Reject the fuel price increases, bring the prices and fuel goes up life becomes even harder”.

Hundreds of police could be seen on guard in front of the Palace carrying shields and protective headgear. (Detik.com, 26/5/2008)

Students in South Jakarta pelt police with stones

Andi Saputra, Jakarta – An action by students from the Christian University of Indonesia (UKI) in the South Jakarta area of Cawang on May 26 has descended into unrest. After students finished setting fire to tyres, police attempted to forcibly disburse the demonstrators.

The students however did not disburse, but instead ‘greeted’ police by pelting them with stones. As a consequence, with the exception of the dedicated Busway lane, roads in the vicinity of Cawang were gridlocked.

According to observations by Detik.com, as of 3.15pm scores of students were still pelting police with stones who were wearing shields and attempting to restrain themselves. (Detik.com, 26/5/2008)

Police break up protest, students seek protection in campus grounds

Andi Saputra, Jakarta – Violence marred a demonstration in front of the Cawang Christian University of Indonesia in South Jakarta on May 26 when around 50 students pelted police guarding the campus with bottle and rocks.

Unable to restrain themselves, at 3.15pm police moved in and forcibly broke up the protest action against the recent fuel price increases causing students to scatter in disarray as they sought safety by entering the campus grounds.

Finding that the students had sought protection within the campus, police were not provoked into entering the grounds and chose instead to hold their ground in front of the entrance to the campus.

As a consequence, traffic in front of the campus became congested with scores of drivers and local resident thronging into the campus in an attempt to witness the clash between students and police. (Detik.com, 26/5/2008)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

If you would like to subscribe free to the INDOLEFT news service click here to send a request to be added to the list (subscribers to APSN’s news updates automatically receive INDOLEFT postings).

Home | Site Map | Calendar & Events | News Services | Resources & Links | Contact Us