Candle lit vigil held to remember those killed in student protests

Source -- October 11, 2019
Candle lit vigil in front of the KPK building -- October 11, 2019 (Kompas)
Candle lit vigil in front of the KPK building -- October 11, 2019 (Kompas)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta -- Activists from the Civil Society Coalition held an evening of contemplation and prayer in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Red-and-White building in Jakarta on Friday October 11.

The event was held to remember and pray for those who died during the series of protest actions in Indonesia which took place in late September.

“We mourn, we have lost [friends], and this should not have happened, but we are certain that their sacrifices for democracy must not stop here, they will continue to live on and be followed”, Civil Society Coalition representative Khalisa Khalid told journalists.

Khalid said that they deplored the repressive actions by security forces against university and high-school students taking part in the demonstrations.

According to Khalid, this repression is like gravel which makes the road towards the realisation of the ideals of reformasi a steep one, referring to the reform movement that began in 1998.

“After 21 years of reformasi we still face the fact that violence is still the ‘commander’ when those in power confront the people”, said Khalid.

He also said that the KPK is now seen as the home of democracy. It is this which led them to hold the evening of contemplation in front of the Red-and-White building.

“It should be that the parliamentary building, the DPR [House of Representatives] building be the home of democracy for the ordinary people, but we know that the DPR RI building is instead a place of murder for the ordinary people”, said Khalid.

The event, which began at 7.40 pm and ended at 10.20 pm, proceeded for around 40 minutes. The participants sat on the ground in front of the KPK building lobby holding candles. An atmosphere of darkness was intentionally created by turning off lights in the area.

In front of the participants were five pictures of the dead which were placed on a table. Small candles were placed around the pictures.

The event included joint prayers, the reading of a sermon, testimonies given by participants, the reading of poems and was closed with the singing of the song Blood of Struggle (Darah Juang).

The series of protest actions which took place around the country in late September resulted in several deaths.

In Kendari, South Sulawesi, two students from the Haluoleo University, Randy and M Yusuf Kardawi, were killed during the chaos of a protest action.

Then in Jakarta, three people were killed, namely Bagus Putra Mahendra, Akbar Alamsyah and Maulana Suryadi alias Yadi.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Nyalakan Lilin di Gedung KPK, Aktivis Doakan Korban Tewas dalam Demo Mahasiswa”.]