Students across Indonesia protest draconian Criminal Code, KPK Law revision

Detik News – September 24, 2019
Student protest in front of DPR building – September 23, 2019 (Detik)
Student protest in front of DPR building – September 23, 2019 (Detik)

Jakarta – Students are on the move again! Today and yesterday, students in several parts of the country took to the streets to reject the revisions to the Corruption Eradication Law (UU KPK) and the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP).

Today, Monday September 23, there were demonstrations by university students in at least five different places including Jombang (East Java), Yogyakarta (Central Java), Riau Island, West Java and Jakarta. The students protested simultaneously rejecting the weakening of the KPK.

In Jombang, the Jombang Student Alliance demonstrated in front of the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) offices. The protesters urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) to replace the revised KPK Law which was passed by the House of Representatives (DPR) on September 17.

In Yogyakarta, protesters from Gejayan Calling demonstrated at the Colombo intersection in Sleman earlier this afternoon. A number of banners with messages such as “Annul the UU KPK” and “Hey House Members, You Broke Your Promise” were put up during the orderly protest. The demonstrators disbanded peacefully later in the afternoon.

In Riau, demonstrations rejecting the weakening of the KPK took place in Binten regency where students rallied at the Riau DPRD.

In West Java meanwhile, actions took place in the provincial capital of Bandung and Cirebon. The student protest in Bandung almost ended in chaos when protesters tried to force their way into the West Java DPRD building. Police were forced to drive protesters back using water cannon and tear gas because the situation was becoming increasingly out of control.

In Jakarta, students rejected the KPK law revisions and the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) at the DPR building. The action was a follow up of an earlier one on September 19 because the students were disappointed that the DPR had failed to involve the students in deliberations on the RKUHP.

“We want the [revised] UU KPK annulled by issuing a Perppu which revokes the UU KPK agreed to by the DPR”, said University of Indonesia Student Executive Council (BEM) Chairperson Manik Marganamahendra during a press conference at the Reformasi Monument in Trisakti in West Jakarta on Monday.

Protesters calling themselves the Student Alliance Demanding the Completion of Reformasi also called for the revised KPK law to be revoked and rejected the RKUHP.

The demonstration in front of the DPR building however was also attended by people supporting revisions to the KPK Law who were involved in an incident earlier in the morning in which they threw bottles at the protesters opposing the revisions.

Chaos also broke out later in the evening when students rejecting the RKUHP and the revised KPK Law threw mineral water bottles at the DPR front gate then began pushing and shoving the gate.

The incident took place after the DPR – represented by the DPR’s legislative body chairperson Supratman Andi Agtas – held an audience with the students.

The planned demonstrations will not end. Later today, students, particularly in Jakarta, will again take to the streets in even greater numbers.

“We have launched a motion of no confidence in them [the DPR]. We will take to the streets in even greater numbers on the 24th (of September)”, said Marganamahendra following the audience with DPR members.

“Tens of thousands, because there are students, farmer’s and social groups who will most certainly take to the streets because it coincides with Farmers Day”, he said. (mae/haf)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahasiswa Bergerak Lagi!”.]