Protest in Semarang rejects revival of TNI’s dual socio-political role

Source – February 28, 2019
Kamisan action rejecting TNI’s dwi-fungsi in Semarang – February 28, 2019 (Gatra)
Kamisan action rejecting TNI’s dwi-fungsi in Semarang – February 28, 2019 (Gatra)

Resza Mustafa, Semarang – A Kamisan (Thursday) action was held by 32 activist and students from several different groups in front of the University of Diponegoro Statue in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang on Thursday February 28.

The protesters took turn in giving speeches and reading out poems, which was interwoven with live acoustic music by the Semarang High School Students Alliance (APS).

During the action, the protesters rejected the revival of the TNI’s (Indonesian military) dual socio-political function (dwi-fungsi) which of late has been the focus of reports in the national media.

According to Haris Ahmad Muzakki from the Semarang Kamisan Committee, the public needs to take heed of and respond to this.

“We haven’t forgotten that during the Orba [New Order dictatorship of former President Suharto] the TNI’s dwi-fungsi was in force to the point where they entered the civil sphere and fostered militarism, resulting in violence against civil society. Many victims disappeared during the years 1997-98”, he said.

Muzakki described the current situation as being one in which the TNI is gradually starting to reenter the civil sphere.

“We know the picture, currently the TNI is beginning to enter the ministries, and the ranks of the cabinet. Additional posts have been created outside of the military. Slowly, this has the potential to change the way decisions and government policies are made, because civil and military thinking is clearly different. The impact of this will be very tangible”, he said.

Kamisan actions in Semarang have been taking place every Thursday for the last two years. Previously, Kamisan actions were held in front of the Central Java governor’s office but they have now moved to the Diponegoro Statue on Jl. Pahlawan because the location is felt to be more strategic and the public can see them up close.

The concept of Kamisan actions was taken from those held every Thursday in front of the State Palace in Jakarta but with themes and special issues being taken up in accordance with the local situation. Muzakki hopes that all elements of society will come together and take part in the actions.

Kamisan actions have grown and emerged in several different Indonesian cities. Recent examples are in the Central Java city of Solo. Kamisan actions taking up the theme of rejecting the revival of the TNI’s dwi-fungsi are being held this afternoon in several cities including Jakarta, Bekasi and Karawang in West Java, Yogyakarta in Central Java and Malang in East Java.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi Kamisan Semarang, Tolak Kebangkitan Dwifungsi TNI”.]