Jakarta – After years of holding Kamisan (Thursday) actions every week, a mother of one the students killed in the Semanggi affair in 1998, Maria Sumarsih, admits that things are becoming more difficult.
When she was attending the commemoration of 13 years of Kamisan Actions on Thursday January 16, she claimed that they were blocked by police.
Usually, Kamisan action participants hold the demonstrations opposite the State Palace in Central Jakarta. At the action today however, they were blocked when they wanted to march past the State Palace.
They were not allowed through when they wanted to pass in front of the Presidential Advisory Board (wantimpres) offices which are located on the State Palace grounds.
“Actions are being made more difficult, increasingly prohibited by police. It wasn’t like that before. Today, we weren’t allowed to cross the sidewalk, we weren’t allowed to go past the door to the wantimpres [offices] which is headed by [former security chief Wiranto]”, said Sumarsih at the Kamisan Action today.
In accordance with the stipulations of Law Number 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression in Pubic, protesters are indeed prohibited from holding a demonstration within 100 metres of the Palace gates. But, according to Sumarsih, during the action they held today they were still some distance away from the Palace.
“If it’s said we violated the law, they also violated the law because they committed murder. There’s no need to prohibit it. If the case was resolved things like this wouldn’t happen”, she said.
Sumarsih said that 13 years of Kamisan actions is a reminder that the government is further perpetuating impunity instead of upholding the law. She hopes that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will immediately resolve cases of past gross human rights (HAM) violations which have been delayed for years and years.
Sumarsih also questioned Attorney General ST Burhanuddin who recently said that there were no gross human rights volitions committed during Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in 1998. Up until now there has never been any clear revelations about the two cases.
“My hope is that Pak [Mr} Jokowi does indeed have a sincere heart, as well as all those in power, because these gross HAM violations are instead seen as a political burden for the nation”, she said. (pris/has)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kisah Sumarsih Diadang Polisi saat 13 Tahun Aksi Kamisan”.]