Student demonstrations resume


Student demonstrations resume

By Max Lane

On September 8 in Jakarta, 2000 students joined a march and rally at the national parliament building.

Several hundred students, who stayed overnight, were violently ousted from the parliamentary grounds, with at least six suffering bayonet wounds.

The mobilisation was organised by the cross-campus activist collective Forum Kota (City Forum) or Forkot.

Forkot emerged in May, bringing together a broad range of student activists politicised by the February-May upheavals in Indonesia. The main demands of the September 8 protesters were the resignation of President Habibie, the formation of a transitional government and the lowering of prices.

The Forkot students entered the parliamentary grounds after a smaller demonstration by students from Kamerad (Students and People for Democratic Action). Kamerad was making similar demands, with the added demand of an end to the dual role of the military.

According to Kamerad activists, negotiations for Kamerad and Forkot to unite broke down over this demand, with Forkot officials saying that it was not "tactical".

On September 9, in Surabaya, 4000 people demonstrated against Habibie during his visit to the city. This demonstration was also attacked by the military and several people were injured when military trucks rammed into the crowd and protesters were beaten with canes.

The demonstration, which called for a lowering of prices for basic goods and for Habibie to resign, was organised by a coalition of groups, including students and a large contingent from the pro-Megawati Indonesian Democratic Party.