Students in Makassar rally against Jokowi's interference in 2024 elections

CNN Indonesia – February 8, 2024
State Islamic University students protest in Makassar – February 8, 2024 (CNN)

Makassar – Students from the  Alauddin State Islamic University (UIN) Da'wah and Communication Faculty in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar protested against the retreat of democracy and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cawe-cawe (interference) in the 2024 elections.

During the action, the students not only blockaded the road and highjacked a truck that was used as a stage for speeches, but also urged the Alauddin UIN rector and the academic community to issue a statement on the retreat of democracy.

"[We're] holding the action to urge the rector and urging the UIN academic community to make a declaration on the [retreat] of constitutional democracy today", said action coordinator Muhammad Basri on Thursday February 8.

The students also criticised the Constitutional Court (MK) for fiddling around with the law and ethical violations by General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioners, who have been sanction by the Election Organisers Ethics Council (DKPP), related to the nomination of President Widodo's son Gibran Rakabuming Raka as a vice presidential candidate (cawapres).

"What is tangible at the moment, is the many instances of fiddling around with the code of ethics at the MK and the KPU. The code of ethics in the form of violations related to candidates, [presidential] electoral tickets, namely the cawapres, who is not old enough [to run], namely that were carried out by the constitutional Court", said Basri.

Because of the current situation, said Basri, the students are urging UIN Alauddin rector Professor Hamdan Juhannis to immediately issue a petition on the retreat of democracy ahead of the 2024 elections.

"Therefore, [we're] urging the rector, to issue a statement to declare the current democratic situation, this is from the Da'wah and Communication Student Alliance", he concluded.

The students took turns in giving speeches on the road while others set fire to old tyres on Jalan Sultan Alauddin, which is an access road connecting the Gowa regency with Makassar, resulting in traffic congestion.

The police meanwhile could be seen standing guard over the action. (mir/pua)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa UIN Makassar Desak Rektorat Sikapi Kemunduran Demokrasi".]