Ari Saputra, Jakarta -- Students and workers have again demonstrated against the draft law on state intelligence (RUU Intelijen Negara), this time by covering their bodies with white paint and chaining their hands together to symbolise the shackling of freedom should the draft intelligence law be ratified by the House of Representatives.
"There are articles in the draft intelligence law that are a threat to the freedom of expression and organisation. Such as intelligence [personnel] having the right to make arbitrary arrests and the lack of any control mechanism or clarification with regard to people who are arrested", said action spokesperson Mutiara Ika Pratiwi during a break in a demonstration in front of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) office on Jl. Diponegoro in Central Jakarta on Thursday June 23.
The chained hands theatrical action itself continued throughout the demonstration. Scores of colleagues from the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN, formerly LMND-PRD) meanwhile shouted slogans and sang songs of struggle while they held up posters rejecting the law. "Defeat the draft law on state intelligence. Fight!", read one of the posters.
The students also found time during the protest action to set fire to photographs of Indonesian military (TNI) generals who they said were human rights criminals. Despite this, the dozen or so police standing on guard did not prevent them from burning the photographs.
As a consequence of the demonstration, traffic from Jl. Diponegoro in the direction of Salemba was congesting because the protesters took up one lane for the action. As of 5.19pm the protest action was still continuing. (Ari/lrn)