Poso – The Central Sulawesi Indonesian People’s Center for Struggle (PPRI) held a free speech forum at the Clock traffic circle in Poso city on Wednesday October 19.
The PPRI believes that democratic space in Indonesia is steadily shrinking as can be seen from the Indonesian military’s (TNI) return to involvement in civil affairs. In a speech South Sulawesi PPRI coordinator Agus stated that the government must expand democratic space by revoking anti-democratic laws.
“We demand that the government expand democratic space by revoking all [deliberations] on anti-democratic draft laws and repeal all [existing] laws that obstruct the people’s movement”.
Furthermore, Agus said that the TNI has significantly deviated from its function and duties. There have been around 31 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) made between the TNI and government institutions, the TNI has become involved in safeguarding the entry of cement factories in Central Java and is involved in various activities on university campuses.
In addition to this, there are still many other policies that legitimise the TNI’s involvement in civil affairs through the law on intelligence (UU Intelejen), the law on social organisations (UU Ormas) and law on national security (UU Kamnas).
Yet this contravenes Article 6 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI which states that the role of the TNI is as the defender of all forms of foreign and domestic military aggression and armed threats against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and safety of the nation.
The free speech forum was closed with deputy action coordinator Vanli reading out of the PPRI’s demands: condemning police violence against Tadulako University students; supporting the West Papuan people’s struggle for self-determination; ending the criminalisation of farmer activists in Surokonto Wetan; opposing all forms of sexual violence; the TNI’s return to the barracks and the abolition of the TNI’s territorial military commands; universal free education and healthcare; the development of national industries and the nationalisation of all vital assets under the control of the people and; the repeal of anti-democratic laws and the abolition of all MoU between government institutions and the TNI.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was PPRI Sulteng Tuntut Perluasan Ruang Berdemokrasi.]