Students, workers and farmers in Jakarta unite in protest against fuel price hike

Source – September 27, 2022
Protester gives speech in front of DPR building in Jakarta – September 27, 2022 (Kompas)

Retno Ayuningrum and Muhammad Isa Bustomi, Jakarta – Demonstrations opposing the recent fuel (BBM) price hike have again taken place in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building on Jalan Gatot Subroto in Central Jakarta this afternoon.

Several groups including students, workers and farmers united on Tuesday September 27 to articulate their demands on the government and the people's representatives.

A group of farmers were the first protesters to arrive in Senayan – where the DPR is located – who began arriving in front the DPR building at 10.25 am carrying flags identifying their respective groups.

Aside from opposing the fuel price hike, they also articulated issues which harm farmers in the context of National Farmers Day – which fell on September 24.

Protesters also arrived carrying a banner with a protest against the government over land issues and the criminalisation of farmers. "We will not return home until our demands are met", said a speaker from the command vehicle.

Following this, it was the turn of workers to arrive at people's representatives' building.

Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI) Chairperson Nining Elitos said that the fuel price hike has added to the suffering of workers and farmers in the midst of an economic crisis.

This is because not a few workers and farm labourers were arbitrarily sacked (PHK) by companies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elitos said that the government should prioritise the welfare of workers and farmers rather than increasing fuel prices on various pretexts – including advancing infrastructure.

"What should be a priority is how to ensure that the ordinary people have land as a source of livelihood, ensuring that the ordinary people have jobs and also ensuring they get [decent] wages", said Elitos.

Finally, it was the turn of students – who arrived at the DPR in a brigade formation while singing songs of struggle – to arrive at the DPR and join the protesting workers and farmers.

A number of banners containing the student's demands were unfurled along the sides of the formation such as "realise agrarian reform" and "stop the criminalisation of farmers, fisherpeople, customary and ethnic communities".

Not only that, the students also brought people dressed as if they were working in a rice paddy.

There were five demands taken up during the action titled, A Call for a Third National Action: BBM Prices Skyrocket, Farmers Cry Out.

First, demanding and urging the government to correct the National Strategic Project (PSN) model which fails to side with the ordinary people.

Second, demanding and urging the government to stop criminalising farmers, fisherpeople, traditional communities and agrarian activists.

Third, demanding and urging the government to implement agrarian reform and resolve structural agrarian conflicts.

Fourth, demanding and urging the DPR and the government to revoke legislation which facilitates land theft and the criminalisation of the ordinary people.

Fifth, demanding and urging the government to revoke the decision to increase fuel prices.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa, Buruh, dan Petani Bersatu di DPR: Demo Tolak Kenaikan Harga BBM".]