Pembebasan commemorates Youth Pledge Day with calls for greater democracy

Solidarity Net – October 28, 2016
Pembebasan action in Ternate to commemorate fall of Suharto - May 21, 2017 (Rudhy Pravda)
Pembebasan action in Ternate to commemorate fall of Suharto - May 21, 2017 (Rudhy Pravda)

Jakarta – Using the momentum of Youth Pledge Day on Friday October 28, the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan) held commemorations to mark the historic day in Jakarta and other cities around the country.

Jakarta action

In Jakarta, Pembebasan joined with the People and Students Action Front (Famrat) to hold a rally in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta where they unfurled banners reading, “Reject the Government of Imperialist Agents”, “Fight Capitalism”, “Fight the Rise of Militarism” and “The Broadest Possible Democracy for All Indonesian People”.

Famrat also made 17 demands, including among others: End the commercialisation of education, abolish the single tuition fee, create democracy on campus, reject the drop out system and reject study time restrictions.

Makassar action

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, Pembebasan joined with Social Solidarity Action for the Indonesian People (SAMURAI) to hold a protest action under the Makassar fly-over. The protesters brought a banner reading, “Create genuine democracy, reject the military’s involvement in civil affairs”.

The demonstrators called for unity of the people’s movement, guarantees of freedom of religions and beliefs for all religious adherents without discrimination, rejected the draft law on national security, called for the repeal of the Social Conflict Law, the Intelligence Law, the Information and Electronic Transaction Law and the repeal of the Higher Education Law, an end to discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, demanded an end to discrimination against minority religious groups, free, democratic and scientific education, the repeal of Government Regulation 78/2015 on Minimum Wage Determination, an end to smart parking, an end to violence against women and the withdrawal of the military from West Papua and for the Papuan people to be given the right to self-determination.

“The latent danger of militarism post the New Order [dictatorship of former President Suharto] is already on the rise again and has encroached on civil life. This has been demonstrated by the enactment of laws that legitimise the military’s involvement in civil affairs”, said one of the speakers, Firman.

Palu action

Meanwhile in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Pembebasan joined with the Vanguard of the People’s Movement for Democracy (Gelora Demokrasi) in an action taking up the theme “Reflecting on 88 years since the Youth Pledge: Broaden democracy, give the people decent jobs and build the populist youth movement”.

The protesters, who held a free speech forum in front of the Tadulako University (Untad), made the following demands: Broaden democracy for the ordinary people; provide decent job opportunities; end the violence against the Papuan nation; and give the West Papuan nation the right to self-determination.

Banggai action

In Banggai regency, Central Sulawesi, Pembebasan joined with the People’s Parliament Student Movement (GEMPAR) who focused on criticising the leadership of Regent and Deputy Regent Herwin Hatim and Mustar Labolo. “Under the leadership of Herwin Hatim and Mustar Labolo the Banggai regional government has failed in carrying out the mandate of bringing prosperity to the people”, said one of the speakers, Hafid.

Similar actions were held by Pembebasan in Ternate (North Maluku), the Sula Islands (North Maluku) and Manado (North Sulawesi).


On October 28, 1928, Indonesian students and youth gathered in Jakarta to declare the Youth Pledge -- generally accepted as the first open declaration of Indonesian independence -- which called for a united independent Indonesia under the theme of “One Nation, One People, One Language”.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Pembebasan Peringati Sumpah Pemuda.]