Jakarta – Even though President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had flown to Japan, it did not lessen the spirit of hundred of housewives and children from demonstrating at the State Palace on November 26.
The demonstration, which was demanding that the government pay attention to the welfare of the poor, started at the offices of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare then marched to the State Palace and on to the Jakarta city public hall.
The action was sponsored by the Preparatory Committee of the National Liberation Party of Unity (KP-Papernas), which is made up of the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) and the Urban Poor Union (SRMK).
As well as demanding that the government of President Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (SBY-JK) resolve the problems facing the urban poor, they also demanded free education and healthcare and an increase to the provisional minimum wage. They also brought a variety of banners with messages such as “SBY-JK have failed to bring prosperity to the people” and effigies of the president and vice president wrapped in a shroud.
The protest cause a traffic jam on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat and a company level unit of police were deployed to maintain security. As of 11.10am the action was still continuing with housewives using umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. “Earlier [I was] invited to demonstrate, they said it was a demonstration for free treatment for the little people”, said one of the housewives. (nrl/mar)
[Translated by James Balowski.]