Rahel Narda Chaterine, Jakarta – A group of students from the Semanggi Student Action Front held a commemoration marking 21 years since the Semanggi I tragedy. They even managed to put up a huge banner demanding that the perpetrators of human rights violations be brought to trial.
A series of commemorations of the Semanggi I tragedy have been held since Monday November 11. During the commemorations on the third day, Wednesday, the students put up a huge banner with the message, “How Many More Presidents until the Violators of Human Rights are Tried? Solve the Semanggi I Tragedy”.
The huge banner with a black background, which had been hanging from the Karol Wojtyla building at the Atma Jaya University since 1pm, was taken down later in the evening.
Semanggi Student Action Front member Natado Putrawan said that they put the banner up to convey their demand that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo uphold the law. Putrawan said that for the last 21 years their demand has been the same – solve the Semanggi I tragedy.
“We were the ones who put up the banner. The banner was made big because it is as big as our call on President Jokowi to uphold the supremacy of the law”, said Putrawan.
The Semanggi I tragedy commemorations today also involved a ceremony in which flowers were scattered on the dead students’ graves. Putrawan said that no matter who becomes president, there will always be people who are pushing for the tragedy to be resolved.
“Don’t think that for 21 years it was only those people that were active, no. That fire has spread and we will continue to pursue the president, as if cursed. We will continue to pursue the president. Whoever the president is we will pursue them until a resolution to the Semanggi I tragedy is found”, said Putrawan.
The Semanggi I tragedy took place in 1998 when a number of student protesters were shot dead. (haf/haf)
On November 13, 1998, troops opened fire on demonstrators from the Atma Jaya University in Jakarta using rubber bullets and live ammunition in the area of Semanggi, South Jakarta, resulting in the death of more than 10 student demonstrators.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Mahasiswa Tuntut Tragedi Semanggi I Diusut Tuntas: Berapa Presiden Lagi?”.]