Hundreds of demonstrators break down parliament gates

Source – November 21, 2005
Protest against rice imports by students and Indonesian Farmers Youth (Tribune)
Protest against rice imports by students and Indonesian Farmers Youth (Tribune)

Muhammad Nur Hayid, Jakarta – An action by hundreds of people from Indonesian Farmers Youth (Pemuda Tani Indonesia, PTI) became heated when demonstrators broke down the gates and forced their way into the national parliament building while hundreds of police stood ready to contain them.

“Open it, open it, open it!” shouted demonstrators as they shook and rocked the gates at the rear of the parliament building on Jalan Lapangan Tembak in Senayan, on Tuesday November 21.

As a result the steal fence became askew. Hooray! Cheered the demonstrators as they entered the parliament building grounds one after another. Seeing that the situation was becoming heated, the number of police personnel was boosted from an initial few dozen to a company level unit (100 personnel).

Demonstrators then held a happening art action using unhulled paddy they had brought which was scattered on the road and by spreading out red and white school uniforms on which was placed 100 rupiah coins and 1,000 rupiah notes. “This is for the people who are tired of the DPR [House of Representatives]”, explained one of the demonstrators.

Speeches continued to be given and a number of demonstrators could be seen sitting and waiting for a meeting between 20 of their representatives and the DPR’s Commission VI. The plan was that the farmers’ representatives would only be able to meet with assembly members at 11.30am because Commission IV was holding a working meeting with the minister of trade, minister of defense and the head of the State Logistics Agency. “Don’t make the people angry, receive our representatives immediately”, said one of the speakers.

By 11.45am the action was still proceeding in an orderly fashion with police spread out and on guard. Traffic meanwhile, which had had initially been blocked, has now returned to normal. (aan)

[Translated by James Balowski.]