Protesters reject electricity rate hikes, deadly ‘LPG bombs’

Source – August 7, 2010
Protest against rise in fuel and LPG prices (Koran Perdjoeangan)
Protest against rise in fuel and LPG prices (Koran Perdjoeangan)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – Scores of people held a protest action opposition the recent increases in basic electricity rates (TDL) and the price of LPG gas canisters in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Saturday August 7. They also called on the government to cancel the price hikes and opposed the use of 3kg LPG gas canisters.

The protesters came from several different groups including the Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network (JNPM) and the National Movement for Prices Reductions and Cancellation of TDL Hikes (GNBKTTH). Earlier, Perempuan Mahardhika held an action at the Gramedia intersection on Jl. Sudirman then moved off to the Yogyakarta Monument where the protesters joined into one group.

The demonstrators brought various kitchen utensils such as pans, woks, electric irons and 3kg LPG gas canisters. The electric irons were wound around the bodies of two women demonstrators who also carried empty gas canisters. The kitchen utensils meanwhile were used as musical instruments.

The protesters also brought a huge replica LPG gas canister made of paper and bamboo as well as placards and banners with messages such as “Reject the TDL hikes”, “Replace LPG canisters with Kerosene”, “Watch out for LPG bombs” and “Reduce the price of basic commodities”.

One of the participants, Ny Sutinah, called on the government to immediately cancel the electricity price increases. The resident of Mancingan, Parangtritis Bantul, said the electricity hikes only added to the burden of the people’s suffering because it causes price increases and high inflation.

“Not to mention cases of gas canister exploding and the many casualties. The public has been terrorised by these LPG bombs”, said Sutinah in a speech at the Yogyakarta Monument on Saturday.

According to Sutinah, the prices of basic commodities has already risen because of the impact of the electricity price hike on companies. She added however that the concrete impact of the government’s policies has been on women who have to manage household affairs and the family.

“There is no other word except bring down prices. Reject the TDL hikes and replace LPG with kerosene stoves”, shouted the woman who is also a victims of a recent land eviction.

After taking turns in giving speeches for around 30 minutes at the Yogyakarta Monument, the protesters then continued the action at the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives building on Jl. Malioboro.

The peaceful action was watched over by Yogyakarta municipal police officers to ensure that the flow of traffic would not become congested. (djo/djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]