Indonesia: Students demand meeting with President outside of Palace

  • The Alliance of Indonesian Student Executive Boards have refused an invitation to meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on 27 Sep 19, following four days of nationwide protests that have turned into violent clashes with security forces.
  • The students instead requested that the meeting with Jokowi be held out in public so people could see the President’s real stance on their demands.
  • “[The meeting] should be out in the open and witnessed live through national television channels,” Muhammad Nurdiyansyah, the alliance’s coordinator, said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.
  • Nurdiyansyah said the students had clearly stated their demands during the street protests and also in the media. He said what the students want this time is to see Jokowi reveal his real stance toward their demands in front of everyone.
  • The students have put forward seven demands to the government. First is the rejection of several bills they deem problematic: the criminal code bill, the mineral mining bill, the agrarian bill, the correctional institution bill and the employment bill.
  • The House of Representatives (DPR) has only passed the correctional institution bill so far while putting on hold the criminal code bill.
  • Second, the students demand the ratification of the elimination of sexual violence bill and domestic workers protection bill. The House said it would leave deliberations of the elimination of sexual violence bill to the next term of the national legislature.
  • Third, the students demand that the president annul the revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) law and the water resources law passed by the House last week.
  • Jokowi said on 26 Sep 19 he considered issuing a presidential decree in lieu of law to annul the amended KPK law.
  • Fourth, the students demand the dismissal of new KPK leaders whose election by the House last week they deem as problematic. The students’ fifth demand is a rejection of the Indonesian Military and National Police personnel occupying civilian positions.
  • Sixth, the students demand the government must stop prosecuting human rights activists. Instead, the government should sue individuals and companies who set off the forest fires that engulfed Sumatra and parts of Kalimantan in 2019.
  • Their seventh and final request was for the government to resolve all past human rights violations, to punish violators currently still in office and to restore the rights of the victims.
  • Increasingly intense protests have been springing up in several regions of Indonesia since 23 Sep 19. Some escalated to skirmishes between the students and security forces as police tried in vain to disperse large crowds.

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