Jakarta – Students from a number of different campuses held a demonstration against the recent hike in fuel (BBM) prices in the Horse Statue area of Central Jakarta on Tuesday September 13.
During the protest they held a theatrical action celebrating the birthday of senior Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician and House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani.
The action was a satire of Maharani whose birthday was celebrated by lawmakers during a DPR plenary session last week while demonstrators protested the fuel price hike outside the parliament gates.
The theatrical action opened with the singing of a version of Happy Birthday by the local rock group Jamrud. Students wearing masks of Maharani and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo then appeared in the midst of the crowd.
A student with a Maharani mask also appeared carrying a birthday cake as if she was surprised by the birthday greetings in the plenary session while the waves of protests took place outside.
The students then danced and sang as if they were celebrating the birthday together with Maharani. The action ended with the student wearing the Maharani mask handing the birthday cake over to police who were on guard next to the security barriers.
Meanwhile a nearby demonstration organised by the Labour Movement with the People (Gebrak) alliance was still taking place on the western side of Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat. The action was joined by workers and students.
The action at the Horse Statue today was only one of a wave of protests against the fuel price hike. Protests have taken place over the last few days in several different parts of the country.
President Widodo announced the increase in the price of Pertalite, Solar (diesel) and Pertamax fuels on September 3.
Pertalite, which initially cost 7,650 rupiah a litre rose to 10,000 per litre, Solar rose from 5,150 to 6,800 per litre and Pertamax rose from 12,500 rupiah to 14,500 rupiah per liter. (frl/fra)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Rayakan Ultah Puan Maharani saat Demo BBM di Patung Kuda".]