Slum dwellers who rejected Ahok over evictions fall victim to same policies under new governor

Tempo – November 13, 2017
Siti, a victim of the forced eviction in Tanah Abang (Tempo)
Siti, a victim of the forced eviction in Tanah Abang (Tempo)

M Yusuf Manurung, Jakarta – The Central Jakarta municipal government today demolished illegal dwellings in the vicinity of the Western Flood Canal, Jl. Tenaga Listrik and Tanah Abang with residents saying that they were disappointed in Anies-Sandi.

A resident who was a victim to the eviction, 36-year-oold Siti, said she was disappointed with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno or Anies-Sandi.

During the Jakarta gubernatorial election earlier in the year, Siti voted for the Anies-Sandi ticket in the hope that they would not create problems for the poor by evicting them without offering any alternative.

“We voted for him, instead of voting for Ahok [former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama]”, she said at the demolition site on Monday November 13.

Siti said that she had lived in the area since she was a child and was a mother of two children. Her daily employment is scavenging for rubbish. She hopes that the government will be willing to provide her with a place to live.

“We should be given somewhere to live, since way back until now we’ve always been vagrants”, she said angrily.

Another resident, 51-year-old Mariana spoke in a similar vein although she has often been evicted and now admits to feeling fatalistic about it.

For tonight, she said that she would live in an emergency tent. Mariana said she did not feel able to rent a house with an income of only 50,000 rupiah (US$5) a day and working as a scavenger. “Yeah, I’ll just put up a tent for now”, she said.

Central Jakarta Mayor Mangara Pardede said that the eviction was carried out in order to restore the road’s function which up until now has been covered with illegal structures.

“This road has been occupied by local residents, we are returning it to its function”, said Pardede at the site of the eviction on Monday.

Pardede said that the Jakarta government had already socialised the eviction and issued a warning letter one week ago. The eviction of the residents from 101 illegal structures on Jl. Tenaga Listrik and 50 structures in the Cideng area proceeded without resistance.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Warga Kecewa ke Anies-Sandi Terkait Penggusuran di Kanal Banjir.]