5 April 2012

News compilation of the people's resistance against fuel price hike

Protesters in front of Parliament, Jakarta, 30th March 2012
Fuel price-Protests continue, Makassar still on alert

Jakarta Post - April 1, 2012

Medan/Makassar -- Rallies against the government's fuel-price plans continued in several cities across the country on Saturday with the protesters targeting

The fuel-price hike that prompted nationwide rallies by university students and other civic groups over three consecutive days will not take effect on April 1 as initially sought by the government.

However, the protesters appeared to be irritated by the prospect that the hike would probably be unavoidable after lawmakers concluded their plenary session after midnight on Friday.

The protesters in Medan and Makassar were adamant on Saturday they rejected the hike, now or in the future. "We're against the fuel-price hike at any time. That's nonnegotiable," rally coordinator Jumeida said in Medan.Some 300 people from various organizations joined the rally. The protesters
vowed to continue to press the government into canceling the hike. Jumeida
said the lawmakers' decision was farcical, made only to calm public anger.

Hendra Hidayat, chairman of the Muslim Students' Association (HMI) Medan
branch said people wanted cancellation not postponement of the hike. "The
House is being hypocritical and trying to fool the people," he said.

Medan has been one of the rallying venues across the country marred by
vandalism. Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho said his administration would go to
campuses to hold dialogues with the students.

In Makassar, the rallying crowd accused lawmakers of betraying the people,
seeing the House decision as akin to giving the government permission to raise
fuel prices. "[President] SBY [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] -- [Vice President]
Boediono and the DPR [the House] are just the same. Both are betraying the
people," shouted a protester.

In Surakarta, the city administration had to drop a plan to hold the Earth
Hour campaign on Saturday evening following the escalating protests in the
region over the past month.

Deputy Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo said he would not risk the event. "I just don't
want any irresponsible individuals damaging stability in the city by making
use of the Earth Hour movement," he said.

Fight over Indonesia's fuel hikes not over

Jakarta Globe - April 1, 2012

Dessy Sagita -- The war is not yet over for those who battled the fuel price
hike despite a decision made during the House of Representative's plenary
session in the early hours of Saturday.

"Some labor unions are pooling forces to bring the newly-passed Law on Revised
State Budget 2012 to the Constitutional Court for judicial review," said Said
Iqbal, president of the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI).

"The Law is not pro-people and we will particularly focus on the contentious
article 7 of subarticle 6 A. Labor unions, especially KSPI, cannot accept the
decision made by the House of Representative because the article gives the
government an opportunity to raise the fuel price."

In the blogosphere on Saturday, anti-corruption activist Fadjroel Rahman asked
fellow activists and Budiman Sujatmiko and Eva Kusuma Sundari, politicians
from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), to meet on Monday to
formulate a petition to be submitted to the Constitutional Court.

Benny Susetyo, from the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI), said he was
optimistic that the controversial subarticle would be revoked by the Court
because it was against the 1945 Constitution. The same Court repealed an
article from the 2001 Oil and Gas Law in 2005, as it suggested the price of
fuel and natural gas would depend on a healthy competitive market.

The 1945 Constitution clearly stipulates that natural resources must be
explored and used for the greater good.

"Principally, it's the same problem with the 2005 law," he told a discussion
on Saturday. "There will be a lot of elements and organizations that file a
judicial review on that controversial sub article and I believe that the Court
will revoke it," he added.

Benny charged that the addition on article 7 of subarticle 6 A was a trick
invented by lawmakers to save face and to respond to the situation outside the
House building.

The proposal to increase the fuel price sparked massive protests around the
country during the week, including one in which demonstrators crashed through
the gates of the House as lawmakers deliberated.

After a noisy vote, the tight and prolonged plenary, which opened on Friday
morning, failed to pass the government's proposal to raise fuel prices. More
than 350 lawmakers voted to possibly raise the price in six months. The 24-
member People's Conscience Party (Hanura) staged a walkout and was followed by
the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Under the agreed upon
option, the fuel price will only increase if the Indonesian Crude Price (ICP)
exceeds the amount set in the budget by at least 15 percent for six months.

"Although the government cannot raise the fuel price starting today as it had
previously planned, the prices of consumer goods have already gone up. Because
of that, we also demand the government to make an effort to control the prices
of consumer goods and staple food supplies that have been soaring in price,"
Iqbal, of KSPI, added.

Scores of police stations damaged in protest

Jakarta Post - April 2, 2012

Jakarta -- The Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) reported on Sunday that the
recent five-day series of massive rallies to protest against the government's
plan to increase fuel prices had resulted in damage to at least 16 police
stations nationwide.

In its press release, IPW said four damaged police stations were located in
Jakarta, while the remaining 12 were located in several other big cities, like
Makassar, Medan, Yogyakarta, Samarinda and Kendari.

The rallies, held from March 27 to March 31 by students, activists and
supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, the country's
largest opposition party, also damaged four patrol cars and one police

The House of Representatives decided early on Saturday to allow the government
to raise subsidized fuel prices only if the Indonesia Crude Price (ICP) was 15
percent higher than assumed in the state budget within six months, meaning
that the government had to cancel its initial plan to increase subsidized fuel
prices today.


Day of rage grips Indonesia as protests come to a head

Jakarta Globe - March 31, 2012

Bayu Marhaenjati, Ronna Nirmala & Dessy Sagita -- Shots were fired, dozens of
people were arrested, some were badly injured and offices and facilities were
burned and vandalized across the country on Friday as protests against the
proposed fuel price increase reached their fevered peak.

Security forces doubled their presence on a day that saw more than 80,000
people take to the streets nationwide, according to protest organizers.

Tear gas canisters and rubber bullets were fired in front of the House of
Representatives in South Jakarta after protesters refused to disband after the
sun set.

Hours earlier, protesters took down the three-meter-high gates at the House
complex and demanded to see lawmakers who were inside the building
deliberating the proposed hike. The police immediately pushed the
demonstrators back, then set up barricades to prevent them from occupying the

Around 7 p.m., the police moved to disperse the crowd, which was blocking two
lanes of the inner-city toll road, by setting off fireworks. While most
protesters fled, some fought back using smashed up concrete dividers and
Molotov cocktails, prompting officers to respond with rubber bullets, tear gas
and water canons. The Jakarta Police said 21 people were arrested.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said the crackdown "was in line with

In Salemba, Central Jakarta, students burned tires and blocked roads to
protest the arrest of 54 of their peers on Thursday. They also accused the
police for raiding the offices of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)
and the Indonesian Administrative Foundation (YAI) for sheltering protesters.

In Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, a 23-year-old student, Khairuddin, was shot in
the thigh and had to be rushed to the hospital for massive blood loss and

His peers suspected that the police were using live rounds, but provincial
police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Sukarman Husein insisted officers had only
used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds. "[Protesters] were
blocking the road and disrupting public activities," the officer said.

In Samarinda, East Kalimantan, and Medan, protesters set fire to local police
stations, vandalizing state property as they marched toward their rally
points. One protester in Medan was arrested.

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, students attacked the governor's office, pelting
windows with rocks and rocking the office's main gate until it collapsed.

In Bogor, one student protester, Abdul Basyid, was rushed to the hospital
after the police allegedly beat him. That prompted clashes between protesters
and officers, with rocks and taunts exchanged. Eight people were arrested. "We
were carrying out our protest peacefully. It is the police who are the real
vandals," said one Bogor student, Gema.

[Additional reporting by Fitri, Rahmat, Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Aidi Yursal
& Vento Saudale.]

54 arrested in violent anti-fuel hike protest in Central Jakarta

Jakarta Globe - March 30, 2012

Farouk Arnaz -- Police arrested 54 people in Salemba, Central Jakarta, on
Thursday evening when the protest against the government's plan to raise fuel
prices turned violent.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said 54 people were
arrested because they were allegedly involved in setting several vehicles
belonging to the police on fire and they were caught carrying Molotov
cocktails, stakes and slingshots during the protest.

Police have been criticized for attacking the offices of the Indonesian Legal
Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and the Indonesian Administrative Foundation (YAI) on
nearby Jl. Diponegoro during the violent clash, but Saud said the officers
were only trying to chase students who had set fire to the vehicles.

"They had no intention to conduct a peaceful protest; they want anarchy," Saud
told a press conference at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on

Rumors spread on Thursday evening that two students died in the violent
Salemba protest, but Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security
Affairs Djoko Suyanto quickly denied it.

In a press conference held in his office in Jakarta on Friday morning, Djoko
said no one died in the incident, although five students, one security guard
and the chief of the Senen Police precinct were injured and being treated at
Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, which is near the scene of the protests.


Thousands workers show off against fuel price hike

Jakarta Post - March 30, 2012

Ridwan Max Sijabat, Jakarta -- More than 5,000 workers from industrial areas
in and around Jakarta staged a mass demonstration at the front gates of the
legislative compound, demanding the House of Representatives (DPR) turn down
the government's plan to increase fuel and electricity prices in April and May

Protesters from the Confederation of All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI),
Confederation of Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union (KSBSI), Confederation of
Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers Union
(FPSMI), Indonesian Workers Organization (OPSI) and Joint Indonesian Workers
Secretariat (Sekber Pekerja Indonesia) decried the planned fuel price hikes
that would certainly affect their economic livelihood.

"One command, one resistance. Lawmakers must reject the proposed fuel price
hike," they shouted.

Hundreds of riot police, eight water cannons and four fire trucks stood by in
case chaos broke out, while hundreds of armed military personnel were deployed
inside halls and a mosque in the compound.

KSPSI Chairman Said Iqbal said in a forum the workers' presence was part of
mass demonstrations, which involved tens of thousands of workers in big cities
throughout the country, with one aim -- the rejection of the fuel and
electricity price hikes.

"We come here to urge the House to reject the government's proposal of
increasing the fuel prices on April 1 and the power tariff price on May 1. We
come here to give moral support for lawmakers to channel the people's
opposition to the planned fuel price increases. We are here to back up
lawmakers from the PDI-P, Golkar, PKS, Gerindra and Hanura to channel our
aspirations," he said.

He called on lawmakers to no longer remain loyal to their own political
parties, which he said have been inattentive to the real conditions people
face at the grass-roots level. "Lawmakers should fight for a 'one man, one
vote' mechanism in the planned vote for the proposed revision of the 2012
state budget law."

Newly-elected Chairman of KSPSI Andi Ghani Nuwa Wea called on lawmakers to
listen to the people's aspirations, and asked the government and security
authorities not blame workers if the national demonstrations turned violent.

The protesters said they would stay put at the gates of the DPR until the
House ultimately opposed the fuel price hike plan in the upcoming vote. "We
will perform the Friday prayers on Jl. Gatot Subroto and stay at the scene
until dawn on Saturday. The House has no choice but to turn down the planned
fuel price hike," he said.

Protesters block Jakarta inner city toll road toward airport

Jakarta Globe - March 30, 2012

People heading toward Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, west
of Jakarta, were forced to take other routes, such as the Jakarta Outer Ring
Road in South Jakarta or the Cawang-Pluit toll road in North Jakarta, as
protesters blocked two lanes of the Jakarta inner city toll road.

The toll road was blocked at the section in front of the House of
Representatives in West Jakarta, allowing no vehicles to pass through and
forcing the TransJakarta Busway to cease operations.

Hundreds of cars were trapped as they tried to access the route, and were
forced to turn around and head in the opposite direction as hundreds of
protesters broke through a fence divider onto two lanes of the toll road,
allowing no vehicles to pass.

No security guards or toll officers seemed able to do anything to stop the
demonstrators, detik.com reported.

Thousands of protesters staged demonstrations outside the House against the
government's plan to raise fuel prices on April 1. Lawmakers are expected to
vote on the proposal in the plenary session being held at the time of writing.


Police shoot tear gas as anti-fuel hike protesters break into DPR

Jakarta Globe - March 30, 2012

Police shot tear gas at thousands of protesters occupying the road outside of
the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Friday as protesters forced their
way into the front yard of the House by breaking down the gate.

Since Friday morning, thousands of protesters have been staging demonstrations
against the government's fuel price hike plan outside the House, known as the
DPR, which is holding a plenary session to decide whether or not to support
the government's move.

On Friday evening, as the plenary session was adjourned following prolonged
debates over the hike plan, protesters finally managed to break the front gate
and quickly flooded the House front yard.

The latest move prompted security officers to take action by shooting tear gas
at the crowd, dispersing them and forcing them out of the House yard.

Live TV footage shows protesters fleeing the scene, and they are now throwing
stones at police, who are still occasionally shooting tear gas.

Protesters occupied the section of the Jakarta inner city toll road in front
of the House, blocking the main access toward Soekarno-Hatta International
Airport in Tangerang from eastern Jakarta.


Students, police in violent brawl

Jakarta Post - March 29, 2012

Jakarta -- Police and students were involved in a violent clash on Jl.
Diponegoro after students started to burn tires during a day-long rally held
by students of the Indonesian Christian University (UKI) and the Indonesian
Persada University (UPI-YAI) in front of their campuses in Salemba, Central

Students effectively closing down a stretch of Jl. Diponegoro, beside the
Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital (RSCM) and set tires alight.

The students had been provoking police and were enraged when one activist was
detained. They then stormed a police post on Jl. Dipongoro, demanding the
student's release.

Tensions heightened in the evening, when a police car was trapped in a traffic
jam before being ambushed and set alight by students blockading Jl. Diponegoro
in front of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) office. Protesters
have been using the office as a kind of transit place.

Police deployed two Barracuda armored-vehicles to the office to look for the
students who burned the patrol car.

The clashes ended at about 9:45 p.m. after the students retreated to their
campuses while the police reopened Jl. Diponegoro.

The relationship between students of the two universities during the rally was
somewhat ironic, as they have been known to dislike one other and brawl.

"This is the beginning of peace between the UKI and the UPI. We are united to
reject the fuel-price hike plan," a UKI student said in a speech during the
rally, as quoted by kompas.com.

At around dusk, when the tires burnt out, several students from the UPI came
along, bringing a new tire to burn. UKI students welcomed the "gift" while
singing a song.

A similar clash also took place in Makassar, South Sulawesi, between security
personnel with students of the Muhammadiyah University (Unismuh). (mim/rpt)

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