Imron Rosyid, Solo – Police assisted by members of the TNI (Indonesian military) broke up actions by three student groups and workers who were holding demonstrations to greet the arrival of Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Indonesian Teachers Union anniversary commemoration in Solo on Sunday November 27.
Security personnel seized posters containing the demands of the three groups. Although the demonstrations were forcibly broken up, up until the end of the commemoration there were no clashes.
Around 40 demonstrators from the Anti-Liberalism Front (FAN) who had gathered on the side of Jalan Adi Sucipto had to be content with holding speeches without posters or banners. A dispute with security personnel almost broke out when they wanted to unfurl posters at around the same time Kalla’s entourage was passing their action.
“We only wanted to convey our position of opposing the fuel price increases and the government’s policy to import rice”, explained FAN’s coordinator Bambang Prakoso.
Similar treatment was experience by dozens of women workers from the Surakarta Labour Coalition (Koalisi Buruh Surakarta, KBS). They had to run and scatter when two riot police trucks surrounded the location of the demonstration on Jalan Ahmad Yani which is around one kilometer from the Manahan Stadium where event was taking place.
Dozens of poster filled with workers’ demands such as increasing the minimum age and opposing fuel price increases were taken away by security personnel.
Meanwhile, a hundred or so demonstrators from the Social Alliance for the People’s Welfare (AMUK-Rakyat) were unable to leave the grounds of the Kottabarat Mosque where they had gathered. Three truckloads of crowd control troops had caged in the demonstrators.
Security for the vice president’s visit was indeed extremely tight. As well as being reinforced by personnel from the Solo municipal police and the Surakarta district police it also involved personnel from the TNI.
From Tempo’s observations, all access roads leading to the Manahan Stadium were closed. Meanwhile for a radius of three kilometers from the event, fully armed troops could be seen on guard. Street vendors, which usually fill the Manahan Stadium complex on Sundays, were removed on Saturday and prohibited from trading.
[Translated by James Balowski.]