Thousands descend on DPR demanding right of inquiry, Jokowi's impeachment

Suara Pemred – March 1, 2024
Protesters rally in front of parliament building in Jakarta – February 29, 2024 (MPI)

Jakarta – A number of social, university, high school and labour organisations held a demonstration in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) complex on Jalan Gatot Subroto in Central Jakarta on Friday March 1.

The protest action, which was held under the theme "The People's Total Action to Besiege the DPR of the Republic of Indonesia", took up three demands which they called the "Tritura" (the three demands of the people).

These were lowering the price of food, supporting a parliamentary right of inquiry (interpellation motion) and the impeachment of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The demonstrators began arriving at 11 am carrying banners with their demands, as well as a command vehicle equipped with a sound system. "People's Action for Change", read one of the banners brought by the protesters.

Before the demonstration began, the protesters calling themselves the Total People's Front (FRS) held Friday prayers in front of the DPR building.

The protesters said that the 2024 elections were full of fraud and for this reason they support the right of inquiry being rolled out by members of the parliament.

One of the orators who gave a speech from the command vehicle said that the 2024 elections were ridden with fraud.

"Was there election fraud the other day or not? If so what's necessary? A war", explained the speaker.

He also asked the crowd of protesters whether or not it was a war.

"Not yet. The cheating has been done, the war not yet", the speaker shouted at the crowd.

"A legal war is what we must wage", said the speaker.

The speaker also explained that a political war must also be waged. For this, they declared their support for DPR members to initiate a right of inquiry to investigate all of the irregularities in the 2024 election process.

"A right of inquiry is a political war. We the ordinary people must support a right of inquiry. Let our colleagues fight in the parliament. Exposé the rottenness of the KPU [General Elections Commission] and the Bawaslu [Elections Supervisory Board]", said the speaker.

A number of activists also took part in the protest action, one of which was Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) Chairperson Jumhur Hidayat.

Hidayat revealed that the protest action was based on the ordinary people's disappointment with the implementation of the 2024 presidential election.

"Yes, this is an action by friends, mainly supporters, who are disappointed with the strong allegations of cheating in the presidential elections that were structured, systematic and massive", said Hidayat.

Despite this, Hidayat admitted he did not know the details on the number of participants who would be protesting, only that he estimates that thousands will take to the streets to participate in the demonstration.

"We don't know the exact number, but it's said to be estimated at thousands of participants because it's also an open invitation and I've received information there will also be people attending from the regions", he said.

In addition to the FRS, a group calling themselves the AMIN Militant Mothers and Housewives (BEM) also joined the demonstration in front of the DPR.

A member of the board of experts and spokesperson for the Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar (AMIN) presidential election campaign team, Refly Harun, also took part in the protest.

He said that today's action will not be the last, and that more demonstrations will be held in coming days.

"The extra-parliamentary struggle, we will continue with it, on the 1st, the 5th, the 9th until our constitutional aspirations are successful, God willing", said Harun in a speech from the command vehicle.

Harun said that his presence at the DPR today was to show that they are in the midst of a fight for justice.

He explained that there are three arenas of struggle that will be fought for in combating the alleged fraud in the 2024 elections. One of which, is through demonstrations.

"Continue these extra-parliamentary activities, because this is a constitutional struggle", he asserted.

Then, the struggle through the right of inquiry to look into the alleged fraud. Harun also invited the protesters to support the political parties using their right of inquiry.

"That is the parliamentary struggle. We must support it, we must urge them to have the courage to fully resolve all of the fraud", he said.

The final arena of struggle is through a challenge at the Constitutional Court (MK). Harun said that although he does not trust the Constitutional Court, it represents one of the channels that can be pursued.

"The problem is we don't have any other choice in order to overturn the election result, disqualifying the cheaters can only be done through the MK", he said.

Police officers could be seen on guard in front of the DPR building. In addition to this, barriers had also been erected in front of the parliament gates.

Counter demonstration

Meanwhile a "counter" demonstration was also held in front of the DPR building with the theme of rejecting the demand to impeach President Widodo.

The action was held by protesters calling themselves the Greater Jakarta Student Alliance and the Jakarta Movement to Safeguard Indonesia.

Because the counter demonstration was held at the same location as a group of protesters from the Anies and Muhaimin Volunteers, who were demanding a reduction in the price of food, supporting the right of inquiry and the impeachment of President Widodo, the atmosphere became heated.

The two camps teased each other and those who were for and against the right of inquiry even began pushing and shoving each other and chaos almost broke out in front of the DPR building.

The field commander of the Greater Jakarta Student Alliance, Rahmat, admitted that they strongly reject the demands. "We must reject a right of inquiry comrades!", he shouted during a speech.

The AMIN volunteers did not accept the presence of the protesting students and shouted at a student who was giving a speech. "Why are you demonstrating, you've been paid, yeah", shouted one of the AMIN volunteers.

The Greater Jakarta Student Alliance said it believes that the encouragement by the AMIN volunteers for the DPR to initiate a right of inquiry and the impeachment of President Widodo are a form of politicisation.

"Why should there be encouragement for the DPR RI? This is politicisation", added Rahmat.

According to Rahmat, there is not one criminal law that can regulate the head of state. A right of inquiry is something that is difficult to fight for in a time frame of just eight months, or Widodo's remaining time in office.

"It's not easy to fight for a right of inquiry in eight months!", he asserted.

Rahmat said that the AMIN volunteers should not make demands on the DPR, but should instead congratulate the president, the DPR, the KPU and Bawaslu who have successfully organised safe and peaceful elections.

"They should come and congratulate the president, the DPR, the KPU, Bawaslu, who have succeeded in organising the elections successfully", he concluded.

The protest action by the different student and social organizations managed to create a traffic jam on Jalan Gatot Subroto from the Semanggi area in the direction of Tomang.

2,590 police deployed

The Central Jakarta Metro Police deployed 2,590 joint personnel to secure demonstrations conducted by the social organisations in front of the DPR building.

Central Jakarta district police chief Senior Commissioner Susatyo Purnomo Condro said the joint personnel consisted of officers from the Metro Jaya regional police, the Central Jakarta district police, the TNI (Indonesian military), the Jakarta province government and other related agencies.

"Personnel will be placed at a number of points around the DPR. For the demonstration today we have anticipated by preparing a number of personnel to carry out security and prevent the masses from entering the DPR area", said Condro. (ant/tik/cnn/sin)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The last five paragraphs on police security measures and comments by Condro were not translated. The original title of the article was "Ribuan Massa Geruduk Gedung DPR Demo Tolak Pilpres Curang".]