On Monday July 27 in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, SOLIDER (People’s Solidarity for Democracy) held a commemoration of the Kudatuli affair (the July 1996 riots), which was a manifestation of the conflict between the ordinary people and the New Order regime of former president Suharto.
SOLIDER is made up of the Socialist Study Circle (LSS), the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan), the Indonesian Student League for Democracy National Committee (LMND-DN), the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and pro-democracy activists and individuals.
Many consider the fight for reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998 – as having finished because the Suharto military regime was brought down in 1998.
There are many democratic demands however which have yet to be won. This is made worse by a state that continues to curb the ordinary people’s democratic space. In response to this, SOLIDER made the following demands during the rally.
- Try and imprison New Order era and post-reformasi human rights violators
- Stop expelling students from the National University (UNAS) and the Ternate Kahairu University (Unkhair)
- End the criminalisation of labour, environmental, press and people’s movement activists
- Free all Papuan political prisoners unconditionally and stop the police investigation into Unkhair student Arbi which has been indicted on charges of treason
- Revoke legislation which curbs democracy: The MPRS Decree Number 25/1996, Law Number 27/1996, the National Security Law, the Law on Social Organisations and halt the deliberations on the Draft Criminal Code
- Fight militarism, return the military to the barracks and withdraw all organic and non-organic troops from the land of Papua
- Stop the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation, revoke the Mineral and Coal Mining Law and Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on wages
- Enact the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence, the Draft Law on Domestic Workers and stop the Draft Law on Family Resilience
- Reject the extension of Special Autonomy for Papua and give the West Papuan people the right to self-determination
- Fight attacks on trade unions
- Create education that is free, scientific, democratic and populist
The action, which began at 11.45 am, took place at the Yogyakarta White Pal Monument. The participants held posters containing their demands and gave political speeches which took up issues such as fighting restrictions on academic freedom, fighting repressive actions by the state against the people’s movement, calling for an end the militarism practiced by the state, demanding the right to self-determination for the West Papuan nation, demanding that human rights violators be tried and the importance of building unity among the oppressed people through establishing their own political alternative.
The action ended at 1 pm with the reading out of a statement. Although the action had already ended, the fight against attacks on democratic space must continue and the call to build unity among the oppressed people must be promoted. (mg)
– Arah Juang (Direction of Struggle) is the official newspaper of the Socialist Union (Perserikatan Sosalis).
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi Memperingati Peristiwa Kudatuli 1996: Lawan Pemberangusan Demokrasi dan Bangun Persatuan Rakyat Tertindas”.]