Yogyakarta – Protesters calling themselves the People's Alliance Movement (ARB) gathered in front of the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on the afternoon of Wednesday September 7 to articulate their opposition to the recent fuel (BBM) price hike.
The demonstrators arrived at the DPRD at 3.58 pm after holding a long-march from the nearby Kamasan Papua student dormitory on Jalan Kusumanegara, Umbulharjo.
Upon arriving at the location, the protesters immediately blockaded the DPRD and held speeches. "Reject, reject, reject BBM, reject the BBM increase now", shouted a speaker from atop of a command vehicle.
While the speeches were taking place, the blockade of the road forced motorbike riders to turn around or use the sidewalk to get past the crowd of demonstrators.
A number of motorised pedicab drivers and traditional horse-drawn carriage owners were also forced to leave the area.
The protest action itself however also received support from street traders and motorised pedicab drivers operating in the Malioboro shopping district near the DPRD.
"We Malioboro motorised pedicab drivers support you, how can [we survive] with a petrol price of 10,000 rupiah [a litre]. We will only get 5,000 rupiah [per fare]", explained Malioboro Motorised Pedicab Taskforce head Heru Susanto in a speech.
Representatives of street traders meanwhile asked the demonstrators to hold the demonstration peacefully and not commit any crimes.
Aside from opposing the fuel price hike, the demonstrators also raised the issue of the ordinary people's welfare and democracy. They also criticised the Draft Criminal Code which is currently being deliberated by lawmakers.
At 4.38 pm the protest action was still continuing peacefully although motorbike riders were still not able to pass through the crowd. (kum/pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo BBM di Yogyakarta, Massa Blokade Jalan Malioboro".]