Wave of anti-Bush protests continue

Various Sources – November 17-18, 2006
Razor wire barrier in Bogor in preparation for visit by George W Bush - November 20, 2006 (people)
Razor wire barrier in Bogor in preparation for visit by George W Bush - November 20, 2006 (people)

[The following is a compilation of abridged translations of protests between November 17-18 against US President George W. Bush's planned visit to the West Java city of Bogor on November 20. Translated by James Balowski.]

Palu students continue protests against Bush

Protests by students in the Central Sulawesi provincial capital of Palu against George Bush's visit are continuing. On November 17 around 100 students from a number of tertiary institutions again held an actions in the main streets of the city.

The protest by students from the Central Sulawesi Student Forum (FMST) began with a march to the Hasanuddin roundabout where they gave speeches opposing Bush's visit saying he is a leader that likes war and a symbol of the capitalist class that is only seeking profits for the US without giving an opportunity to other countries to develop. After giving speeches, the students set fire to old tyres and posters of Bush while they sang Indonesian nationalist songs.

They then moved off to demonstrate at the Central Sulawesi Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) building but were prevented from entering by police. Frustrated the students tried to burn tyres but police seized the fuel and tyres and a clash between the protesters and police was narrowly avoided. (Kompas Cyber Media, 17/11/2006)

Wave of protests against Bush in Padang

There has been another wave of protests against George Bush in the West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang, where around 500 protesters from a number of Islamic mass organisations demonstrated at the provincial DPRD on November 17.

"Bush's arrival should have been anticipated and rejected. The president of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) must understand the people's wishes. We are opposing [the visit] not just because of the economic problems, but also for the benefit of the community", said Forum Libas coordinator Khairul Amri in a speech.

Amri added that the Islamic community in West Sumatra opposes Bush's visit because he is destroying Islamic countries such as Palestine, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Closely guarded by police, the demonstration proceeded peacefully with protesters handing over a banner filled with signatures opposing Bush's visit to DPRD speaker Masful. (Kompas Cyber Media, 17/11/2006)

Islamic boarding school pupils protest in Jombang

Lively protests against the visit by George Bush are continuing across the country. In the East Java city of Jombang for example, hundreds of Islamic religious pupils (Santri) form the Tebuireng Islamic boarding school besieged the Jombang DPRD in protest against the visit.

The protesters, most of who were in their teens, took turns in giving speeches then moved off to demonstrate at the Jombang regional government offices. They were unable to enter the grounds however as the building was cordoned off by security personnel. Before ending the action, the protesters set fire to two US flags. (Liputan 6, 17/11/2006)

Protesters hang effigy of Bush from palm tree

In the North Sumatra provincial capital of Medan, around 1,200 members and sympathisers of the Prosperity and Justice Party (PKS) held an action on November 17 in which an effigy of President Bush was hung from a palm tree.

After gathering at the Great Mosque the protesters held a long march to the US representative office where they held speeches accusing Bush of being a terrorist and failing to take responsibility for various humanitarian tragedies around the world. "We oppose Bush coming to Indonesia, and ask the government to oppose all forms of intervention and dictates from Bush", said PKS chairperson Gatot Pudjo Nugroho.

The protesters also held a theatrical action in which Bush was tried as an international criminal. During the hearing Bush was accused of being responsible for the murder of Iraqi, Afghanistan and Palestinian people and after being declared guilty sentenced to death by hanging. An effigy of Bush was then hung from a palm tree near the US representative office. (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Yudhoyono hangs 'Bush' in front of the State Palace

President Yudhoyono gave an important lesson to the arrogant George Bush by hanging him in front of the State Palace with a red-and-white cloth on November 17.

Of course it wasn't the real Yudhoyono and Bush, but a theatrical action that took place during a protest action by demonstrators from the Action Coalition for the Eviction of Bush (KAUB). Yudhoyono's bravery was also only theatrical. The evidence, the 100 or so demonstrators still brought a brown duck to symbolise the Indonesian government tail-ending the wishes of the US.

In addition to bring flags from their respective organisations, the protesters also put up a long banner with the message "Bush go to hell, please" and smaller banners with the writing "Oppose the policies of SBY-Kalla who lick Bush's ass" and "Chase Bush out of Indonesia". (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Three corpses 'murdered by Bush' dumped into pool

After being brutally murdered by 'Bush', three corpses were then disposed of in the pool at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta. Before being dumped, the three people were beaten bloody until they met their doom at the hands of 'Bush'. Ruthless!

This was a theatrical action held by some 50 members of the National Awakening Youth Movement (Garda Bangsa) on November 17 to depict the blood spilled by Bush's foreign policies.

During the action the protesters called on Yudhoyono have the confidence to reject being dictated to by the US and to give a lesson to Bush and the US about genuine human rights and democracy. Garda Bangsa chairperson Idam Darmana said that the protest was not about accepting or receiving Bush's visit. "We don't want to get trapped in that polemic. Nevertheless we still see Bush as a perpetrator of gross human rights. That is what we are protesting", he said.

The protesters also brought a number of banners with messages such as "Beware of Bush", "Bush is an international criminal", "Bring Bush before the International and Human Rights courts" and "Mr Bush, don't teach us about democracy and human rights". (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Bogor students tell Bush to 'go to hell'

In one of the largest actions to date, eight students carried a coffin covered with a green cloth with the writing "Go to Hell Bush!" followed by around 700 students during a march to the Bogor Palace on November 17.

Organised by the Student Executive Councils (BEM) from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) the Ibnu Khaldun University and the Pakuan University, this was one of the largest student actions so far.

Marching behind the coffin, other students held a theatrical action depicting US pressure and the 'hidden' agenda of Bush's visit to Indonesia. Other students meanwhile shouted anti-Bush slogans such as "Hang Bush" and "Bush is a terrorist". (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Thousands demonstrate against Bush in Bandung

Anti-Bush demonstrations are continuing to flare up in West Java provincial capital of Bandung. On November 17 thousands of people from Islamic mass organisations protested at the Sate Building Complex at which the accused the government of betraying Islam by allowing the Bush visit to go ahead.

At least 10 mass organisations were involved in the protest including Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), the PKS, the Indonesian Council for Islamic Propagation (DDII), the Islamic Community Brotherhood Forum (FUUI), the Indonesian Muslim Students Action Front (KAMMI), Muhammadiyah, United Islam (Persis), the Islamic Community Party (PUI) and the Indonesian Youth Movement (GPI).

As well as bringing their respective organisational flags, the protesters also brought a banners with the writing "Bush is a war criminal" and one with a picture of Bush wearing clothing and a moustache ala Hitler. In speeches, representatives of the organisations said that the Muslim community rejects Bush's visit and called the Indonesian government a traitor to Islam. (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Inter-religious youth organisations present protest letter for Bush

Representatives from seven inter-religious youth organisations went to the US Embassy in Jakarta on November 17 to present a letter opposing Bush's visit to the US Ambassador for Indonesia Lynn Pascoe.

The seven organisations included Muhammadiyah Youth, the Ansor Youth Movement, the Indonesian Buddhist Youth Generation (Gema Budhi), Pradah Indonesia, the Indonesian Christian Youth Generation Movement (GAMKI), Catholic Youth (PK) and the Confucian Youth Generation (GMK).

One of the representatives from GP Ansor, Malik Haramain, said that in addition to delivering the letter, they are also calling on Bush to stop using political double standards and taking an arbitrary attitude towards other countries by taking up issues of human rights and democracy. "We are also asking the American government to stop the invasion of and aggression against Middle Eastern countries and to place itself alongside other countries", said Haramain. Meanwhile the head of Muhammadiyah Youth, Raja Juli Antoni, said Pascoe responded positively to the protest letter and promised to pass it on to Bush when he arrives on November 20. (Detik.com, 17/11/2006)

Indramayu students seal off US fast food outlet

Hundreds of students from Islamic mass organisations in the West Java town of Indramayu protested at the local DPRD on November 17 against the visit by George Bush. They also sealed off a US fast food outlet to symbolise their opposition to the visit. (Liputan 6, 17/11/2006)

Yogyakarta students seal off McDonalds

Hundreds of protesters from the Muslim Students Association for Reform (splinter group of HMI) sealed of a McDonald's restaurant in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on November 17 as a symbolic protest against George Bush's visit.

The restraint was sealed off by sticking up pictures of Bush with the worlds "Wanted" underneath it and writing the words "sealed off" on the front door. Although surprised, the patrons did not appear greatly disturbed by the action.

The sealing off of McDonalds was not in fact the target of the protest but a spontaneous action that took place during a rally from the Gajah Mada University roundabout to the Yogyakarta monument.

In addition to rejecting Bush's visit, the protesters also condemned the Indonesian government for accepting him as a guest. "We reject the governments excessive position in greeting Bush", said action coordinator Zwar M Syafei. (Tempo Interactive, 17/11/2006)

Protesters in Bali oppose Bush visit

Hundreds of protesters from the KAMMI and the Campus Religious Foundation (LDK) in Bali held a demonstration on November 17 against George Bush's visit to Indonesia.

The demonstration began with a gathering for Friday prayers in front of the Bali governor's office where they put up a length of cloth with the writing "Reject Bush: War criminal: Imperialist-Capitalist". They then held a march to the US Consulate General during which they shouted anti-Bush slogans and declared their support for the struggle of the Palestinian people. (Tempo Interactive, 17/11/2006)

Pekanbaru students make live radio broadcast opposing Bush visit

Students in the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru have also indicated their opposition to the visit by George Bush by burning US flags and an effigy of Bush during a demonstration on November 18.

The action by around 300 students from various tertiary education institutions began at the roundabout in front of the Pekanbaru mayor's office followed by a march to the Radio Republic Indonesia (RRI) building. The protesters also handed out leaflets in which they said Pekanbaru students protest the position of the Yudhoyono government in accepting Bush's visit as it will cost some 6 billion rupiah. Upon arriving at the RRI building, the students were given an opportunity to make a live broadcast in which they read out a statement opposing the visit. (Detik.com, 18/11/2006)

Protesters say 'Soekarno yes, Hugo Caves yes, Evo Morales yes, Bush no way!'

Around 100 people wearing traditional clothing from the Archipelago Alliance (AN) held an action against George Bush's visit at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout on November 18 after holding a long-march from the Indosat Building.

The alliance is a coalition of social organisations including the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC), the Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), the Families of the May Victims (KKM) and the Indonesian Women's Coalition (KPI).

Wearing traditional clothing form Aceh, North Sumatra, West Papua, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Kalimantan, they circled the roundabout accompanied by Tor-Tor music from Tapanuli and songs from Minang. The traditional cloths were worn to represent places where foreign companies are exploiting the Indonesian people.

They also brought banners with messages such as "Bush Indonesia Number 1 Enemy", "Bush you are unwelcome here!", "Soekarno yes, Hugo Caves yes, Evo Morales yes, Bush no way!" and "Bush is a scoundrel".

In a speech, one of the action coordinators, Yenny Rosa Damayanti, read out a letter to Bush in which she said that the government had committed a grave error in accepting the visit. "We reject your visit, because you make threats against terrorism but it is precisely [you] that goes to war like a terrorist. To take the minerals and mine energy sources that belong to the Indonesian people. Moreover these companies destroy the environment, therefore we reject you!", she said. (Detik.com, 18/11/2006)

US embassy ambushed by five 'monkeys'

Demonstrations against George Bush have been diverse in nature. On November 18 protesters from the PKS held a theatrical action wearing money suits in front of the US Embassy in Central Jakarta.

During the protests by some 200 or so PKS members, five demonstrators dressed up as monkeys, one wearing a Bush mask, pranced around with the 'Bush' monkey pointing at and ordering the other four monkeys around. The four monkeys nodded their heads in response. The protesters said that they were depicting countries that are US allies and easily ordered around.

The demonstrators also brought a number of posters with messages such as "Wanted Killer In The World 2006" and "Original Terrorist". (Detik.com, 18/11/2006)

Students reject US capitalist hegemony

Three thousand people from the Student Movement for Liberation, a coalition of student groups from the IPB and the Ibnu Khaldum University held an action against George Bush at the Kujang Monument on November 18.

The action, which started in front of the offices of Indonesian Institute of Science, was followed by a two-kilometer march to the monument. In speeches the student said that they opposed Bush's visit because he will only be seeking to strengthen US capitalist hegemony in Indonesia.

In addition to giving speeches, the students also brought posters condemning the visit with messages such as "Along with Bush we are despicable", "Reject and destroy US capitalist hegemony" and the like. (Detik.com, 18/11/2006)

[Translated by James Balowski.]