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Jakarta Post

Students throng in front of House, more flood into Jakarta as protests continue

  • Kharishar Kahfi and Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 24, 2019   /   02:37 pm
Students throng in front of House, more flood into Jakarta as protests continue University students protest against the revision of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in front of the House of Representatives compound on Sept. 23. (JP/Donny Fernando)

Thousands of university students from across Indonesia have once again taken to the streets in a continuation of a series of protests against what they perceive to be attempts by the government and the legislature to roll back democracy. 

In the capital, students from various universities, both from within and outside the capital, gathered in front of the House of Representatives compound in Central Jakarta at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to voice demands for lawmakers to halt the passage of a number of controversial bills, including a revision of the Criminal Code (KUHP).

The students thronged in front of the House gates on Jl. Gatot Subroto carrying protest banners and posters with messages that call for the state to be committed to continue the decades-old efforts for political reform.

Commuter train stations were filled by students from other parts of Jakarta on their way to the demonstration. 

At Manggarai station, commuters applauded as students wearing their school jackets passed by, according to a video posted on @jktinfo

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by JAKARTA INFO (@jktinfo) on

At the time of writing, students from several universities outside the Greater Jakarta area were also making their way to the House complex, although some of them claimed to have faced obstacles. 

Groups of students on their way to Jakarta from Diponegoro University and the University of Semarang in Central Java reportedly had their buses stopped by police.

They eventually continued on their journey after hiring a new set of buses and are currently still headed to the capital. 

Asked for confirmation, National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said that police had only "urged" students from outside Jakarta not to join the demonstrations because they were "vulnerable to being used by hardline groups".

He stopped short of confirming that police had tried to turn students back.

Besides Jakarta, students in other cities across the country, including Palembang in South Sumatra, Malang in East Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi have also continued to protest.

In addition to the KUHP bill, the students are protesting against problematic articles in at least four other bills, including a manpower bill, a land bill, a mining bill and a correctional procedures bill. They are also demanding the lawmakers immediately pass a bill on the eradication of sexual violence.

Tuesday’s protest happened at the same time as the House held a plenary meeting during which lawmakers initially planned to pass some of the controversial bills, including the KUHP. After a string of protests since last week, however, Jokowi asked the House to delay.