Hundreds of people at the palace reject militarism

Source – March 20, 2003
Student protest in front of the State Palace (RMOL)
Student protest in front of the State Palace (RMOL)

Yulianti, Jakarta – Around 200 people from the Anti-Militarism People’s Front (Front Rakyat Anti-Militerisme, FRAM) demonstrated in front the presidential palace and the department of defense. They were rejecting all forms of militarism in Indonesia and the world.

The demonstrators were from a number of student groups and non-government organisations including Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence), the National Student League for Democracy, the Muhammadiyah Student Association and the People’s Democratic Party. During the action in front of the palace on Thursday at 4pm they also rejected the draft law on the TNI (armed forces).

At the action, Kontras spokesperson Ori Rachman said that FRAM rejects all forms of militarism. “Right now, militarism is a threat to the world and Indonesia, such as the US attack on Iraq”, he said.

In Indonesia he said, the military is still given powers to conduct dangerous acts. Such as Article 19 from the draft law on the TNI which allows the commander of the TNI to determine if there is a state of emergency and to deploy troops without the agreement of the president.

During the action, they brought five effigies in military uniform sitting on the toilet. These effigies were a symbol that the military is still conducting dirty and foul games.

They also brought a billboard measuring 5x4 metres with a pictures of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, parliamentary speakers Amien Rais and Akbar Tandjung, Vice-president Hamzah Haz, TNI commander Endriartono Sutarto and army chief Ryamizard Ryacudu with the words “Four regimes have passed, crimes by the military must be tried in accordance with social justice, now they are back”. (asy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]