Student intervention at ‘elite activist’ meeting end in chaos

Source – October 13, 2010
Rizal Ramli (Tempo)
Rizal Ramli (Tempo)

Alie Usman, Jakarta – A meeting organised by the Muhammadiyah Youth Association to address problems of the state and nation, which presented figures such as Rizal Ramli and Romo Magnis Suseno at the Muhammadiyah Central Board office in Jakarta, has ended in chaos.

Scores of students claiming to be from various student movement groups suddenly brought the event to a halt by holding speeches in front of the meeting that was still taking place.

Mutiara Ika Pratiwi from the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN) suddenly called for an interruption then stood up on the side of the podium shouting her disappointment because Ramli, who according to the students is part of the political elite, was one of the speakers and pretending to be part of their movement.

The action by the youth group claiming to be a student organisation succeeded in causing temperatures to rise. After arguing and pushing and shoving each other for a moment, the event organising committee finally decided to evict the group from the meeting room.

“We only [wanted] to convey a message. The ordinary people do not trust the elite. Rizal Ramli and all of these people are lackeys of the elite that should not be promoted as leaders here”, shouted Pratiwi as she was forced out by three heavily built committee members.

The chaos, which had continued for several minutes, was finally brought under control by committee members after participant ended up pushing and jostling one another and the group of students was forced to leave the meeting room.

Once outside, the student group did not leave immediately but instead unfurled small banners condemning different political figures such as former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Ramli and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who they consider nothing more than part of the tangled network of power in Indonesia.

“It is time for youth groups to take over. No more those who are considered leaders yet are all as rotten as each other. This is not disunity of youth groups, we just want to warn our friends here to be selective about promoting people”, said one of the other students.

[Translated by James Balowski.]