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‘World Bank main culprit behind Indonesia’s impoverishment’ - Protesters

VHRmedia.com - June 1, 2008

Kurniawan Tri Yunanto, Jakarta – Nine days after fuel prices were increased by 28.7 percent, the public is again protesting the government’s decision.

Hundreds of people from the National Liberation Front (FPN) and the People’s Struggle Front (FPR) demonstrated at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta today on Sunday June 1. They were opposing the government’s decision to increase fuel prices because it will have an immediate and negative impact on the people.

The protesters said that the fuel price increase on May 23 will bring suffering to the people as proven by the immediate jump in the price of basic commodities. Public transport fares have increased by 20 percent and similar increase in the price of electricity will soon follow. The direct cash assistance (BLT) for the poor of 100,000 rupiah per month is not a sign of the state’s concern.

“We, the oppressed people will continue to resist. The government is in fact pitting BLT recipients against the public that is carrying out opposition [to the fuel price increases]”, said FPN spokesperson Nining.

According to Nining, state officials, members of the House of Representatives, the political elite and the owners of capital will not feel the impact of the fuel price increases. This can be seen from continued reports in the mass media on the wealth of state government officials. “We refer to this as our being colonised by the capitalist class and those who have abundant amounts of money and live in luxury”, she said.

The hundreds of protesters also demonstrated in front of the World Bank office building saying that the donor institution played a central role in supporting and pushing for the fuel price increases. On the grounds of providing loans and assistance, the World Bank actually controls all of Indonesia’s natural resources and state assets. “They (the World Bank) are the main culprit behind the impoverishment of Indonesia’s economic and political [system]”, said Nining.

The FPR, which then set off towards the State Palace in Central Jakarta, also took up the same demands – opposing the fuel price hikes. The protesters said that the government’s decision would worsen the [economic] crisis in Indonesia, result in mass dismissals, income losses for farmers and fisherpeople and the further impoverish small-scale enterprises.

In addition to the FPR and the FPN, the Hotel Indonesia roundabout was also filled with people from Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia who were also opposing the fuel price hikes. (E4)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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