Denpasar – The signing of the Anti-Pornography Law by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has attracted protests in the Indonesian resort island of Bali, with two of the students planning to demonstrate against the law being arrested by police.
The students were arrested when they were holding a protest action to greet Yudhoyono’s arrival to open the Institute for Peace and Democracy at the Udayana University in the provincial capital of Denpasar on December 10.
“The students were secured because they did not have a permit to demonstrate”, said Bali regional police spokesperson Assistant Superintendent Sri Harmini. The two students who were arrested are currently being questioned by the Bualu sectoral police while the other students were able to slip away.
The 15 or so Udayana University students started the action by gathering at the faculty of technology. As they started to move off however, the police arrived unexpectedly and made the arrests. “When we wanted to [start] the protest, we were suddenly arrested by police”, said one of the students. (Detik.com, 9/12/2008)
Semarang artists and activists hold anti-corruption ritual
Semarang – Artists and non-government organisation activists in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang held an ‘anti-corruption ritual’ in which they set fire to a billboard with a list of pending corruption cases in Semarang.
During the action to commemorate Anti Corruption Day, which falls on December 9, the artists, bare-chested and wearing black trousers, used rice straws, flowers, incense, tree seedlings and oil lamps as mediums for the ritual. Sitting in front of the Youth Monument, they dipped the rice straws in a pool then circled the area waved them around.
In the following ‘scene’, the billboard was set alight and after it had died down, several of the artists sprayed kerosene over the fire. At the end of the ritual, the artists plunged into the pool surrounding the monument to symbolise cleansing themselves from the lust of corruption. (Detik.com, 9/12/2008)
Residents blockade road, paralyse access to Belawan port
Medan – Fed up because the road never gets repaired, on November 9 hundreds of residents from the Medan Belawan sub-district in North Sumatra blockaded the road and totally paralysing access to the Belawan port. The action was held as a form of protest against the government that has failed to pay attention to infrastructure on the highway heading towards the port.
One of the residents, Muhammad Raiz, said the Medan municipal government and the North Sumatra provincial government should take care of the road. “The Belawan port contributes a large amount of PAD (locally generated revenue) for the government. But the road is like a pool. Many residents have become victims [of accidents on the road]”, said Raiz.
According to the residents, if the government does not respond to the blockade, they will mobilise even more people. The blockade ended after negotiations with police and vehicles were able to begin moving again. One of the truck drivers said that while they supported the action, holding it at mid-day disrupted their delivery of goods to the port. (Detik.com, 9/12/2008)
Hospital staff strike over wages, right to unionise
Jakarta – On December 9, around 200 employees from the Christian University of Indonesia Hospital in Cawang, East Jakarta could be seen lying around on in front of the hospital’s lobby while others danced around cheerfully. They weren’t being lazy, but were on strike in protest against unjust actions by hospital management.
During the strike, which was joined by nurses, administration staff and radiologists, they also brought a banner with the message, “We want our normative rights”. “They (who are demonstrating) are from all elements in the hospital. This demo isn’t disturbing the patients. Because those demonstrating include the night shift staff, those treating patients on the afternoon shift are still working”, said action coordinator Anton Temaluruh.
The employees had 10 demands: the freedom to form a union, equal rights for women and men, regular wage rises and promotions, unrestricted health insurance for employees, the reinstatement of transport allowances, an end to contract labour, that transfers and dismissal be conducted transparently and according regulations, overtime payments, leave on the second day of the Easter holiday, and the reinstatement of a sacked employee and an apology from the management. (Detik.com, 9/12/2008)
[Abridged translation by James Balowski from reports posted on the Detik.com news portal.]