Student action against intelligence law ends in chaos

Source – October 11, 2011
FPMD protest against Draft Intelligence Law in Semarang - October 11, 2011 (kabepiilampung)
FPMD protest against Draft Intelligence Law in Semarang - October 11, 2011 (kabepiilampung)

Triono Wahyu Sudibyo, Semarang – A protest action by scores of students calling themselves the Democratic Concern Student Forum (FPMD) against the enactment of the draft Intelligence Law (RUU Intelijen) ended in a scuffle with police and damage to the front gate of the Central Java Regional House of Representatives (DPRD).

The action began at the Videotron traffic circle on Jl. Pahlawan in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang on Tuesday October 11. After giving speeches, the students held a theatrical action depicting the depravity of government officials furnished with the Intelligence Law.

Satisfied with the protest at the Videotron traffic circle, the students then moved to the offices of the Central Java DPRD located around 100 metres away. Because the gateway was blockaded by police, they were only able to take turns giving speeches while they waited for DPRD members to come out and joint them.

In speeches the students said that the draft law could be used muzzle social liberties such as the freedom of expression, assembly and association. “If it’s enacted, then the law could easily be used as a tool to perpetuate the power of certain interests and gag the voices of the little people”, said action coordinator Sustiyo Wandi.

The weather was quite hot and after waiting for some time for the DPRD members to come out the students began to get impatient. They then tried to force their way in but were not of course just allowed to do that.

The police blocked their way and a series of scuffles broke out. Although it did not reach the point of an actual clash, it did result in the front gate almost giving way and left leaning at a 45 degree angle. Fortunately the iron gate was able to be put upright again after the scuffle.

Having failed to break through the police blockade, the students eventually decided to disband. Before this however, several had time to give more speeches declaring that they would be ready to fight if the draft law is enacted. (try/fay)

Source: Aksi Tolak RUU Intelijen di Semarang Ricuh – detikNews. Selasa, 11/10/2011

 [Translated by James Balowski. The draft intelligence law was enacted later in the day.]