Urban poor accuse governor of lying, failing to keep election promise

Detik.com – November 12, 2007
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo (Tempo)
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo (Tempo)

Ramadhian Fadillah, Jakarta – During protest actions, demonstrators usually replace the names of government officials they are protesting against with something bad. But this time it was different, the name of Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo was instead embellished with the addition of last name of the handsome actor Ari Wibowo.

“Fauzi Wibowo is a liar! Fauzi Wibowo, make good your promises!”, the speaker shouted repeatedly in a shrill tone, greeted with cheers and shouts from hundreds of people from the Urban Poor Union (SRMK).

Who knows whether saying Fauzi Wibowo was just a slip of the tongue, but that’s what happened during a demonstration in front of the Jakarta city hall on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Central Jakarta on Monday November 12.

The demonstrators were calling on Bowo – who is better known as ‘Foke’ – to end the eviction of poor residents. They were also protesting against Foke for not keeping his promise during his election campaign that declared a ‘Jakarta for All’. The reality is however, that Jakarta is only for those that are well off, while the poor are endlessly evicted and their homes demolished.

Most of the demonstrators were residents of the Gili Sampeng village which lies on the Sekretaris River flood-plain in the Kebun Jeruk administrative district of West Jakarta. Actually, although they are aware that the land they are occupying is the property of the Jakarta provincial government, they have continued to demand decent housing as compensation for their homes that were demolished on Tuesday November 13.

“Yes, certainly it is government owned land. But where else are we going to live? What we are asking for is a decent place to live by way of compensation”, said one of the residents, Nova (24).

As of 2pm local time the protest action was still continuing. The majority of the participants were housewives that had brought their children. (mly/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]