Activists expel Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko from Thursday action in Semarang

CNN Indonesia – November 18, 2021
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko tries to speak at Thursday action – November 18, 2021 (Istimewa)

Jakarta – Human rights activists expelled Presidential Chief of Staff (KSP) Moeldoko when he arrived at a Kamisan (Thursday) action in front of the Paragon hotel the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang on Thursday November 18. The incident was recorded in a video shared by Semarang Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) lawyer Cornel Gea.

In the middle of the Kamisan action, Moeldoko tried to invite participants to speak with him. He arrived with Semarang Mayor Hendrar Prihadi, National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara and KSP deputy head Jaleswari Pramodhawardani.

As soon as Moeldoko picked up the microphone, the protesters immediately declared the objections saying they reject the presence of government officials at the Kamisan action.

"This is a platform for the ordinary people, human rights violators are not allowed to speak!", shouted one of the demonstrators in the video uploaded to the Twitter account @cornelgea on Thursday.

Moeldoko however continued to try and invite the participants to speak, but they continued to shout their objections. In the end Mayor Prihadi invited Moeldoko and the other officials to leave the location.

Speaking by phone, Cornel Gea explained that the Kamisan action was held to coincide with a Human Rights Festival organised by the government. The human rights activists objected to the government holding the event without first resolving the human rights violations which have been happening for years and years.

This was also the reason that the protesters rejected Moeldoko and his colleagues. They did not want to give space to people who have ignored human rights violations despite having the authority to resolve them.

"We were not prepared to have the Kamisan action turned into a stage for them. They know about the human rights violations throughout Indonesia, but have not done anything", Gea told CNN Indonesia.

Moeldoko and friends magnanimous

CNN Indonesia has tried to contact Moeldoko and Pramodhawardani to ask for a response to their eviction from the Kamisan action but neither of them has responded as of this article being posted.

Komnas HAM Commissioner Hapsara, who was present during the incident, explained the chronology saying that Moeldoko took the initiative himself to approach the demonstrators in order to hear their aspirations.

Despite this, the presence of the officials was rejected outright. Hapsara said that he and the other officials decided to follow the protesters' wishes.

"Our friends were articulating their aspirations when Pak [Mr] Moeldoko wanted to hold a dialogue, but there was no opportunity. Yeah, then we returned to the venue", said Hapsara when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

"Me, Komnas HAM, we deeply respect the freedom of opinion and expression of our Kamisan friends, so there wasn't any problem", he said. (dhf/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aksi Kamisan Usir Moeldoko: Pelanggar HAM Tidak Boleh Dikasih Ruang".]