Demonstrations enliven Youth Pledge Day commemoration

Koran Tempo – October 29, 2004
Students hold protest rally on Youth Pledge Day (Sulsel Satu)
Students hold protest rally on Youth Pledge Day (Sulsel Satu)

Agus R/Supriyantho/Dian Y/Mahbub, Surabaya – Commemorations of Youth Pledge Day in various parts of the country yesterday were enlivened by a number of demonstrations. In the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya, around 20 activists from the Left Democratic Force (LDF) held a demonstration at the State Grahadi Building wearing bamboo hats traditionally worn by farmers. They presented five demands to newly installed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla including calling for all harmful legislation to be revised.

“Reject all forms of land evictions, uphold the supremacy of the law and increase subsidies for education. We call for the victims of land evictions to receive an adequate standard of living”, said action spokesperson Arif Linoha.

In Jember, East Java, around 100 student activist held an event titled “Youth Congress 2004”. The event which was organised by a number of student groups was held at the local parliament. Most of the participants wore clothing and accessories from an earlier time, such as white long-sleeved shirts and large black rimmed glasses; some some came riding old-style bicycles and horse-drawn carts.

According the head of the organising committee, M. Hakim Yunisar, the event was intended as an auto-criticism of the younger generation who are experiencing a decline in youthful spirit. During the event which was taken up with speeches and theatrical actions, they formulated three paradigms of struggle, including saving the nation from global capitalism by rejecting foreign debt and ending the privatisation of state assets.

In the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang, Around 30 students from the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) commemorated Youth Pledge Day with a rally from Jalan Simpang Lima to the water fountain roundabout on Jalan Pahlawan. Carrying flags, posters and banners, they called on the government to make its promises a reality. “We again warn the new government to immediately improve people’s welfare as they have promised “, said LMND spokesperson Bagas yesterday.

In a leaflet which was distributed to pedestrians, they also called for the government to immediately build a clean government, to try the corrupters and criminals from the New Order regime of former President Suharto, to build a sovereign and democratic administration, to end the land evictions and evictions of petty traders, to end the privatisation of state owned enterprises and to have the courage to reject foreign intervention in establishing a government and economy of the people.

“We call on all youth, students, the urban poor, on workers, farmers and street traders to continue to pressure the new president [to fulfil his] promise to resolved the country’s problems”, said Bagus.

A formal commemoration of the Youth Pledge Day was also held at the officers of the Central Java governor. Students and a number of other youth groups including the Indonesian National Youth Committee held a similar events.

In Mataram, the commemoration of Youth Pledge Day was lead by the governor of West Nusa Tenggara H. Lalu Serinata. He invited the public of West Nusa Tenggara to stop thinking in ways which are backward, sectarian and which foster egoism because this neglects the tasks and responsibilities which inspired the spirit of the youth pledge.

[Translated by James Balowski.]