The Jakarta Post
Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Monday in major cities across the country to stage protests aimed at giving moral support to the Corruption Eradication Commission ( KPK ), which is currently engaged in an existential battle with the National Police ( Polri ).
In Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University rector Pratikno, the college professors, lecturers and students signed a petition on a white cloth to express their support for the embattled antigraft commission.
“With this, we express our deep concern regarding the conflict between the KPK and the National Police. The battle between the anti-corruption commission and the law enforcement agency will only benefit corruptors. We stand against all kinds of pressure being applied on the KPK commissioners and the efforts to weaken the commission,” Pratikno said.
In other parts of the city, protesters who grouped themselves under the People’s Alliance for the KPK ( AMUK ) staged another protest, condemning the police move to arrest Comr. Novel Baswedan, a police officer seconded to the KPK for shooting robbery suspects in 2004.
“We support the KPK in eradicating corruption, particularly major graft cases at the National Police. We support the KPK taking over the investigation into the National Police Traffic Corps,” said one of the protesters.
The protesters also laid down a sign that read “Shame on the National Police for their arrogance against the KPK.”
A large number of protesters turned up for a demonstration in Makassar. The protest took place at Losari Beach, a popular tourist spot in South Sulawesi’s capital city.
“I came here to give moral support to the KPK, our last defense against corruption,” said Azis Kahar, a member of the Regional Representatives Council ( DPD ) from South Sulawesi as quoted by kompas.com.
In Sukoharjo, Central Java, students from Muhammadiyah University staged a protest by walking in reverse while demanding the President take immediate action in the KPK-Police stand-off.
In Bandung, West Java, students from three universities who identified themselves as members of “Aliansi Peduli Untuk KPK” ( Care Alliance for the KPK ) called for a truce between the KPK and the
“The KPK and Polri, please make peace, don’t attack each other,” said one of the protesters who delivered his speech in front of Gedung Sate, the West Java gubernatorial office.
In Bali, students occupied an intersection on Jl. Gajah Mada in Denpasar to protest what they described as police arrogance.
The protesters stretched a 10-meter-long white cloth as a symbol against police corruption.
In Jakarta, private citizens, public figures and activists took turns in forming a human chain to guard the KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Monday.
Later in the day, 20 trash pickers descended on the KPK headquarters to lend their support to the KPK. One of the trash pickers carried a sign which read “Pemulung lebih mulia daripada koruptor” ( Trash picking is nobler than being a corruptor ).
Later, some 50 activists from Aliansi Masyarakat Ganyang Korupsi ( People’s Alliance for Crushing Corruption ) arrived at the KPK headquarters, before being joined by 300 protesters from the All-Indonesia Workers Union ( SPSI ).
On Monday afternoon, hundreds of students from various universities throughout the city occupied parts of the slow lane of Jl. Rasuna Said in front of the KPK headquarters, slowing rush-hour traffic. ( yps )