Commemorating Hero’s Day, students reject Aceh military emergency

Source – November 10, 2003
Protest in Jakarta calling for peace in Aceh (Getty Images)
Protest in Jakarta calling for peace in Aceh (Getty Images)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – Commemorating Hero’s Day on Monday November 10, scores of student activist from the Yogyakarta Indonesian Youth Front for Struggle (Front Perjuangan Pemuda Indonesia, FPPI) held an action rejecting the extension of the military emergency in Aceh.

As well as this they also called for the conflict in Aceh to immediately resolved without violence so that there will be no more casualties. The FPPI action began at the intersection of the Yogyakarta Monument starting with a speech and a happening art action which portrayed the attitude of the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri as wanting the military emergency in Aceh to be extended.

Among the several posters which they brought was written “Reject the Military Emergency, Resolve the Aceh Conflict Without Violence” and “The Military Emergency will Add to the Suffering of the Acehnese People and Human Rights Violations”.

One student wearing a black shirt played the part of Megawati and another played the part of the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who were in the middle of discussing a resolution to the Aceh problem. Two others wore green clothing resembling military uniforms, plastic helmets and carried cardboard rifles. A number of others played the role of the Acehnese people wearing traditional Acehnese clothing, acting as if they were suffering as a consequence of the extension of the military emergency.

From the Yogyakarta Monument they went on to hold a long-march towards the provincial Yogyakarta parliament though Jalan Malioboro. Throughout the march they continued to give speeches and hold happening art actions.

In a speech presented by the coordinator of the action, Deky Rizky, he said that the Aceh problem cannot be resolved by violence or a military operation. This is because the Aceh problem is a product of economic and political injustice, but the state has not been capable of resolving it properly and as a result it has created dissatisfaction within Acehnese society. (nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]