Public lecture by Prabowo interrupted by protest action

Detik News – September 11, 2012
Students unfurl banner reading Reject Forgetting during Prabowo Subianto lecture at Undip - September 11, 2012 (Detik)
Students unfurl banner reading Reject Forgetting during Prabowo Subianto lecture at Undip - September 11, 2012 (Detik)

Angling Adhitya Purbaya, Semarang – Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) board of patrons chairperson Prabowo Subianto give a public lecture today at the Diponegoro University (Undip) in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang.

Half way through the lecture however, students in the seating area on level two suddenly unfurled a banner with the message, “Reject Forgetting”.

The three, along with one student from the Undip Student Executive Council (BEM) Community of Students, looked like the other students taking part in the public lecture, sitting quietly and listening to what Subianto had to say. But when the national figure began talking about his personal experiences they stood up and unfurled the white banner.

Within seconds, members of the student university paramilitary regiment (Menwa) who were not far away from the activists seized the banner and rolled it up. “We were secured by Menwa [members] straight away”, said BEM foreign affairs spokesperson Hendri Ariwibowo on Tuesday September 11.

The four students were then escorted out of the lecture hall by the Menwa members and rushed towards the student activities centre building.

Earlier, eight students almost succeeded in waylaying the black Alphard car with licence plates H 999 DH that Subianto was riding in on its way to the Prof. Soedarto building where the lecture took place. The students however, who had brought posters and were giving speeches, fail to stop the car however because it was moving too fast.

Action coordinator Reza Auliarahma said that they held the protest action to remind society about reformasi [the reform movement that began] in 1998 and the human rights violations committed in East Timor that involved Subianto.

“This is to remind society that Subianto still has sins related to reformasi in 1998 and the abduction of activists along with human rights violations in East Timor”, said action coordinator Reza Auliarahma in front the Prof. Soedarto building.

Subianto gave a talk titled “The Revitalisation of National Culture as a Basis to Develop a New Indonesia for the 21st Century”. The lecture was attended by more than 1000 students, scores of which were willing to stand in the aisles in order to hear him speak. (alg/try)

[3 Mahasiswi Bentangkan Spanduk Saat Prabowo Orasi di Undip – detikNews. Selasa, 11/09/2012. Translated by James Balowski.]