Pradito Rida Pertana, Yogyakarta – Commemorating Youth Pledge Day, students in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta from the People in Motion Alliance (ARB) held a democracy carnival and people’s platform.
The action demanded that the government issue a presidential regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to annul the recently enacted Corruption Eradication Commission Law (UU KPK) and the Law on Cultivation Systems and Sustainable Agriculture.
The hundreds of students began the carnival at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) traffic circle north of the city centre. They did not wear their respective university jackets but wore a variety of costumes instead. There were even several who dressed up like DC Comic super villains such as the Joker.
Carrying a banner with the message, “The 91st Youth Pledge Carnival – A People’s Democracy Platform”, they began marching on foot to the Pal Putih Yogyakarta Monument. At the monument, they held activates under the theme of the People’s Platform.
Action coordinator Bintang Utara explained that the action was joined by hundreds of students from various universities in Yogyakarta. The action is aimed at getting the government to issue a Perppu to annul on the KPK Law and other problematic draft laws.
“The aim is the same as our earlier demands, namely opposing the acts of violence by the state against our comrades and demanding the government and or the president issue a Perppu, especially that a Perppu on the KPK Law be immediacy issued by the president”, said Utara at the UGM traffic circle in Sleman on Monday October 28.
“In addition to this, we are also calling on the government not just to postpone various draft laws, but to a soon as possible annul these draft laws”, said Utara.
The action raised 10 demands including urging President Widodo to issue a Perppu to annul the KPK Law and the Law on Cultivation Systems and Sustainable Agriculture and rejecting the Draft Land Law.
In addition to this the government was asked to revise the problematic articles in the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) with the involvement of civil society organisations.
“For example the Draft Land Law, if it is ratified the impact will be to rob farmers of their land. Then the Draft Labour Law, this will promote the politics of low wages and make workers suffer”, he said.
“Because of this, in concert with 91 years since the Youth Pledge, we are taking the spirit of the Youth Pledge as our reflection of the current government”, continued Utara.
Utara added that the concept of the peaceful action was different from the earlier Gejayan Calling (#GejayanMemanggil) actions because it allowed for more space for public participation in responding to the current government’s policies.
“Through the concept of a procession we wanted to allow space for participation by all Yogyakartan residents, so that they would then be involved in the action. Because this action is not just a part of the student [movement] only”, he said. (rih/rih)
On October 28, 1928, Indonesian students and youth gathered in Jakarta to declare the Youth Pledge – generally accepted as the first open declaration of Indonesian independence – which called for a united independent Indonesia under the theme of “One Nation, One People, One Language”.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tuntut Perppu KPK, Mahasiswa di Yogya Gelar Karnaval Demokrasi”.]