Students oppose military

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Students oppose military

Marina Carman

One hundred and fifty students staged a protest outside the office of the regional legislative assembly in Surabaya, Indonesia, on February 22. The students were angry at the Indonesian military's repression and domination of political life in the country.

Rally organisers from the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) demanded that those military generals responsible for human rights violations be put on trial and that the "dual function" of the military be revoked, so that it can no longer intervene in politics. They also demanded the disbanding of the armed forces' territorial and intelligence structure, which allows it to monitor life at every level of society, down to the smallest village.

The action also protested the effects of neo-liberal policies enforced by the IMF and World Bank in return for loans. Such policies, now being put into practice by President Abdurrahman Wahid, include cuts to price subsidies on basic needs, such as electricity and fuel, and cuts to education funding.

Mohammad Sofyan, the chairperson of LMND, said on February 28, "This policy will result in a higher cost for education. A large number of students will not be able to pay. This policy shows that the government sides with international capital against its own people. We have to invite the people to refuse this and other neo-liberal policies.

"We think that other students around the world also have similar problems. So we want to build solidarity to support each other in struggling for a just and democratic world."