Activists call for environmental justice, reject REED

Source – December 1-6, 2008
Indonesian Forum for the Environment activists protest at HI traffic circle (Antara)
Indonesian Forum for the Environment activists protest at HI traffic circle (Antara)

Andi Saputra, Jakarta – Hundreds of environmental activists from several different non-government organisations held an action at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta on December 6 in which they painted a miniature globe on a 20 metre length of white cloth symbolising a bomb that is about to explode.

In addition to the globe, they also drew a fire dragon symbolising the desire to burn down Indonesia’s forests under which was written “No REDD (reduction emissions from deforestation and degradation)” and “Climate Justice 4 Indonesia”.

“We want world leaders to take immediate concrete action in relation to climate change”, said Ade Fadli, an activist from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi). “We want self-sufficiency in energy, food an water”, said another activist Andreas Iswinarto

A similar action was also held by around 300 Greenpeace activists who brought a banner with the message “Action for Climate” and balloons with the names of hazardous chemicals such as CO2 written on them. They also handed out leaflets with warnings about the dangers of climate change. (, 6/12/2008)

Mud flow victims blockade Raya Porong highway

Sidoarjo – Hundreds of victims of the Lapindo Brantas mud disaster in East Java blockaded the Raya Porong highway on December 4 demanding the payment of outstanding compensation money.

The protest, which was carried out by residents from 10 villages whose houses and land have been inundated by the mud flow, was held to express their disappointment with the government that has only agreed to pay compensation in 30 million rupiah to each resident in monthly installments.

As a result of the blockade, a two kilometre traffic jam occurred on the main highway connecting the East Java cities of Sidoarjo and Malang. Hundreds of police could be seen watched over the protest although they made no attempt to remove the blockage. (, 4/12/2008)

Buaran residents call for eviction to be postponed

Jakarta – On December 4 residents living in the Buaran river flood plane demonstrated at the Jakarta city hall against a planned eviction.

“We are demanding a six-month postponement of the eviction so that school children can move up a grade and finish school”, said a representative of the residents, Dede Iskandar. The government is planning to carry out the eviction on Saturday November 6.

Several weeks ago, Buaran residents also held a protest action at the Jakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in which they were received by legislative members who promised to postpone the eviction until there was a follow up decision in writing.

It turned out, said Iskandar, that the contents of the letter said that Buaran residents had to address their complaints to the Jakarta provincial government. “We feel like we are being ping-ponged around”, said Iskandar. (, 4/12/2008)

Workers protest joint ministerial decree, call for decent wages

Jakarta – The atmosphere in front of the State Palace became increasingly boisterous as around 600 member of the Workers Challenge Alliance (ABM) held a protest action on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta on December 3.

The protesters were demanding that the government revoke a joint ministerial decree (SKB-4) limiting wage rises to economic growth which they said would bring further suffering to workers. The workers held the demonstration behind another protest by victims of the Lapindo Brantas mud disaster who had arrived at the Palace earlier.

During the demonstration they took turns in giving speeches from an open pickup truck. “We are calling on the government to provide a decent national wage”, said ABM coordinator Anwar Sastro Maruf during a break in the action.

In addition to giving speeches, the workers also erected red ABM flags and unfurled a variety of banners containing demands that the decree be revoked. (, 3/12/2008)

Lapindo mud disaster victims scuffle with police in Jakarta

Jakarta – Disappointed by being unable to meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on December 3 victims of the Lapindo mud disaster tried to close of Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta. A scuffle with police was unavoidable.

Initially the protesters demonstrated by occupying one of the lanes on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara. However after there was no information about whether the president would meet with them, they decided to blockade the entire road.

During the ensuing scuffle with police, one of the protesters collapsed and had to be carried to the pavement. Fortunately, the situation was diffused after one of the speakers called on protesters return to main crowd. (, 3/12/2008)

Two students arrested after burning pictures of president

Yogyakarta – Two students in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta were arrested on December 3 after they tried to set fire to posters of President Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (SBY-JK).

The arrests occurred during a protest action in front of the Gedung Agung Yogyakarta Presidential Palace by students from the United Student Coalition (KMB). During the action, the students took turns in giving lively speeches while other held up posters and photocopies of the president and vice president.

In the middle of one of the speeches, a number of students suddenly started trampling on the posters. The police moved in and tried to seize the pictures but failed. A short time later, two students – Andi Permana and Aslihul Fahmialya – tried to set fire posters of SBY-JK and again the police took action. This time they were successful and after the posters were confiscated the students were placed in a truck.

The arrest enraged the other students who threatened to go to the Yogyakarta regional police headquarters. “We will not return home until our comrades are released”, threatened one of the students. (, 3/12/2008)

Activists commemorate World AIDS day in Solo

Solo – Around 150 activists in the Central Java city of Solo held an action to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1 in which they called for and end to the negative stigma attached to AIDS sufferers.

The protesters, who came from a number of different elements including the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), transsexuals, students and non-government organisations concerned with issues related to women and children, started the action at the Gladag roundabout then moved of to the Surakarta city hall some 200 metres away.

During the protest, they called for additional funding to combat HIV/AIDS in Indonesia, for the government and society as a whole to change its views about HIV/AIDS sufferers and for people to give serious attention to the disease but without stigmatising sufferers.

In addition to giving speeches, the protesters also handed leaflets out to pedestrians and demanded that the government provide more intensive information about the spread of HIV/AIDS. (, 1/12/2008)

Workers say joint ministerial decree only benefits capitalists

Medan – Around 800 workers from a number of different trade unions in Medan demonstrated at the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) on December 1 demanding that a joint ministerial decree (SKB-4) be revoked. The workers said that the decree will only be use to protect the interests of the capitalist class.

In a speech, action coordinator Saragih explained that the joint decree, which restricts wage increases to 6 percent, will not just harm workers, but all elements of society, including farmers, fisherpeople and the urban poor.

“Not matter what their reasons are, the SKB-4 must he revoked immediately. The agreement will only bring suffering to the ordinary people”, said Saragih. In addition to opposing the joint decree, the workers also urged the government to reduce the price of fuel by 40 percent.

After holding the action at the DPRD, the workers plan to demonstrate at the North Sumatra governor’s office and the offices of the state-owned oil company Pertamina in Medan. (, 1/12/2008)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski from articles posted on December 1-6.]