Protests over election fraud held in Surabaya, Lampung, Makassar and Yogya

CNN Indonesia – March 1, 2024
Protest against election fraud at South Sulawesi DPRD – March 1, 2024 (CNN)

Jakarta – Protest actions against election fraud took place in several parts of the country on Friday March 1. In the provincial capital of Surabaya, hundreds of people calling themselves the Honest and Fair Election Saviours Forum (FPPJ) held an action in front of the East Java Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) building.

According to CNN Indonesia's observations at the location, the majority of the demonstrators taking to the streets were emak-emak (urban housewives). Only a hand full of the demonstrators were young people. On the other hand, dozens to hundreds of police officers could be seen on guard.

The demonstrators were protesting the 2024 presidential and legislative elections which they alleged were fraudulent because of the lack of neutrality by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"The president (allegedly) sided with a candidate pair (Prabowo-Gibran), by mobilising the APBN [state budget], mobilising the state apparatus, disbursing trillions in social aid in order to ensure victory for his son", said one of the speakers, referring Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Widodo's eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

The FPPJ conveyed three points in its statement of demands during the action in front of the DPRD.

First, they reject the results of the 2024 elections which is considered to have been ridden of fraud. Secondly, urging the House of Representatives (DPR) to immediately initiate a right of inquiry to request government accountability for all the election chaos.

Third, the protesters declared a motion of no confidence in the President of the Republic of Indonesia who has not provided a good example in the implementation of the elections and urged the DPR to impeach President Widodo.

Emak-emak besiege Lampung KPU

In the South Sumatra city of Lampung, hundreds of protesters from the group Lampung Social Alliance-Reject Fraudulent Elections (AML-TPC) held an action to convey demands related to the election result considering the many irregularities and cases of fraud that have been found.

The participants, which were dominated by ibu-ibu (married women) and emak-emak, descended on the Lampung General Elections Commission (KPU) offices on Jalan Gajah Mada in Bandar Lampung.

AML-TPC action coordinator, Firmansyah, said that the AML-TPC protesters were an alliance of volunteers who reject the results of the vote count through the KPU's Recapitulation Information System (Sirekap) application.

"We ask that the cheating through to alleged vote inflation in various regions be stopped. We also ask the KPU to be honest and fair", he said.

Firmansyah said that there were six demands that they will convey to the Lampung KPU including:

1. Condemning and rejecting all forms of fraud committed by the authorities that was structured, systematic and massive (TSM), especially in the vote recapitulation produced through the Sirekap.

2. Rejecting the use of the state apparatus at both the central and regional levels (the president, ministers, governors, regents and mayors, state civil servants, Indonesian military and police officers) to mobilise and condition village heads (Kades) to support one of the presidential candidate pairs who should be stakeholders in a government that is neutral.

3. Rejecting the utilisation of social aid (bansos) to influence people to vote for one of the presidential candidates and especially the expenditure of assistance that is not in accordance with the specified schedule.

4. Supporting an independent team to conduct a forensic test of KPU's IT system which considered to be problematic, especially the OCR (optical character recognition) and OMR (optical mark recognition) readers as well as the vote inflation that was used as a basis for the quick count and one of the presidential candidates declaring victory before it had been confirmed by the KPU.

5. Encouraging the KPU to create elections that are luber and jurdil (direct, general, free and confidential as well as honest and fair) so that the public can participate in elections enthusiastically and the percentage of golput (abstentions) and be brought down so as not to turn voting into a commodity for cheating by election organisers.

6. We, the AML-TPC encourage DPR members as the people's representatives to initiate a right of inquiry as part of the constitution in finding the basic problems in the chaotic process of the 2024 elections.

They threatened that if their demands are not heeded by the Lampung KPU, they will hold another action with even more protesters. Moreover they will besiege the Lampung DPRD offices so that all of the political party fractions there speak out and support an immediate right of inquiry.

Makassar rally demands right of inquiry

Hundreds of emak-emak also held an action in front of the South Sulawesi DPRD in Makassar in which they brought a bier and demanded that the DPR immediately form a special committee for a right of inquiry into the implementation of the elections which are were allegedly fraudulent.

Earlier they held a demonstration at the South Sulawesi Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) and KPU offices to express their aspirations regarding indications of election fraud. They then marched from Jalan AP Pettarani to the DPRD offices on Jalan Urip Sumohardjo.

During the action the protesters said that they believe President Widodo damaged and attacked the constitution so that the election did not proceed as it should.

"They used all the instruments of the state, including ASN [state civil servants] and regional heads to ensure victory for one of the candidate pairs. The state budget such as social was also used in their interest", said action coordinator Irsan Yasir on Friday.

According to Yasir, the current state of the country is worse than during the New Order era of former president Suharto, because the president wants to establish a political dynasty.

The protesters also touched on the Widodo giving Prabowo Subianto – who is on track to win the presidential election – the honorary rank of four-star general.

"Dynastic power is crueler than the New Order. Imagine, a person is dismissed [from the military] but then promoted in rank. I am sure we will become scouts if Prabowo becomes president. Don't let us collide with each other, our fellow children of the nation", he said.

The protests are therefore demanding that the South Sulawesi DPRD recommend to the DPR that they immediately initiate a right of inquiry into the elections.

Call for campuses to speak out

In the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, a theatrical action commemorating the 1949 siege of Yogyakarta known as the March 1 General Offensive was held by the Dewe Yoben community group at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) traffic circle in Sleman on Friday afternoon.

The dozen or so protesters held the action behind a banner that they had erected in the middle of the UGM traffic circle reading "The Campuses Mustn't be Silent – Where's the UGM Rector?".

During the pantomime or mute art action a poem was read out titled A Love Letter to the Rulers – From the Mute to the Dull Witted.

The poem broadly meant inviting all of the oppressed people to speak out over the damage done to democracy as a consequence of the actions of the rulers who are hungry for power and worldly affairs.

"Alas the oppressed people, labourers and pedicab drivers, artists and clever people, if you are silent about whom we complain, don't let us become the voice of a freezing mute", read a section of the poem.

"When democracy is destroyed, silence is not a choice", ended the poem.

Hendri, as the coordinator of the event, said that the action was held after seeing the turmoil of public dissatisfaction with the results of the 2024 presidential election which they suspect was ridden with fraud, both before and after voting day.

Hendri admitted that the group was concerned about seeing tertiary education institutions as lighthouses of intellectuals who just silently witness this festival of democracy that was full of defects.

They are also looking for six rectors from tertiary institutions who will dare to articulate the truth. The number six was chosen in line with the historical event when the Indonesian people, through an offensive that lasted for six hours, retook the capital city of Yogyakarta from Dutch colonial forces.

The incident, which came to be known as the March 1, 1945 General Offensive, represents a struggle by the Indonesian people that showed Indonesia was still a sovereign nation.

"We are looking for six brave rectors in line with the six hours in Jogja", said Hendri.

The group invited the academic community to again articulate the truth, fight injustice, the arbitrariness of the authorities and not let the little people struggle alone in upholding democracy.

Meanwhile the reason for the holding of the action at the UGM traffic circle was as a reminder that the 1998 reform movement was also started from this campus.

"(UGM) has no voice, so that people who are shouting are unable to do so, only the mute is articulating this to the rulers so that the rulers will also hear, when we band together in a crowd it will also not be heard", said Hendri.

"But maybe with the mute who is alone they might hear and also we see perhaps here at UGM, the UGM rector will hear and maybe he will speak out and invite all of the academic communities to start this movement, to speak out so the country will be restored, don't let the country be ruined", he concluded. (kum/mir/frd/zai/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Protes Pemilu Curang Menggema di Sejumlah Daerah Indonesia".]