Students in Bandung protest fuel price hike with ‘street sleep’

Source – November 20, 2014
Student protest against fuel price hikes in Bandung - November 20, 2014 (Merdeka)
Student protest against fuel price hikes in Bandung - November 20, 2014 (Merdeka)

Andrian Salam Wiyono – Actions opposing the recent fuel (BBM) price increase continue. On the afternoon of Thursday November 20 a group of students from the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (PMII) Islamic State University Commissariat in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung held a ‘street sleep’.

The action was held directly in front of the Pertamina (state fuel company) Region III Gedebage fuel terminal on the Jl. Soekarno Hatta bypass. As a result, the slow lane was closed for around 30 minutes.

The 100 or so protesters held a sleep in under the scorching sun. They also brought posters opposing the fuel price hike that was set by the government on Monday evening (November 17) and announced by President Joko Widodo along with cabinet officials.

After sleeping on the road for around 15 minutes they then moved to the front gate of the Gedebage fuel terminal where they held a theatrical action. A burial shroud and bier were used to symbolise the death of a government that ignores the screams of the ordinary people.

According to action coordinator Ibnu Mahbub, the fuel price hike is not a solution to the suffering of the ordinary people but a form of state violence against the people. Article 33 Paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution states that the land and water along with the natural wealth contained within it are controlled by the state and used as much as possible for the prosperity of the people.

“The government has made a mistake in issuing the policy to increase fuel prices”, he said during a break in the action. This is because if crude oil could be refined by Indonesia then the price of fuel would not go up.

In their demands the student called for the oil and gas mafia to be wiped out and the immediate nationalisation of oil and gas assets. “Stop liberalizing the oil and gas [industry] and finally reject the fuel price increase which clearly impacts on increases to the price of basic goods and creates new poverty”, he explained.

The protesters, who had been gathering since 10am, disbursed at around 11.40am. The action was closely guarded by scores of police and the obstructed bypass has now been reopened.

[Translated by James Balowski.]