The Jakarta Post
Hundreds of protesters — students and activists — rallied in big cities on Thursday to demand that the President issue a regulation to revoke a new law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), three days before President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo starts his second term.
Thursday also marked the day that the new KPK Law began to take force.
Hundreds of students and activists rallied on Jl. Diponegoro in Bandung to demand that the President “listen to what the people want” in regard to the KPK Law. They want Jokowi to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to halt the law, which many believe would weaken the KPK’s power to catch corrupt people. They also criticized police use of “excessive force” in dealing with the protesters across the country.
At least five people have died in protests that have taken place since last month.
“We want the government to side with the people, not with the interests of the elites,” said Yusuf Sugiarto, the spokesperson for the West Java University Students Alliance.
“The majority of people want the President to issue the Perppu to halt the KPK Law. The President should not be afraid because we are behind him,” he said.
A survey released by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) on Oct. 6 said that 60.7 percent of those who were aware of the student protests and the KPK Law revision were in support of the rallies. Only 5.9 percent were against the protests, while the remaining 31 percent chose to stay neutral and the rest declined to answer.
The support for the protests was largely driven by the fact that 70.9 percent of respondents who were aware of the KPK Law revision believed it would weaken the antigraft body. Only 18 percent of respondents believed the revised law would strengthen the KPK.
An earlier survey by Kompas, however, showed a different picture. Released on Sept. 16, a few days before the first big protest in Yogyakarta and Jakarta, 44.9 percent of respondents supported the revision while only 33.9 percent said they disagreed with the bill.
In Bandung, another group played music in front of the West Java gubernatorial office to voice their protests.
Randi, one of the protesters said the hundreds of protesters wanted to remind the government about seven demands raised during rallies last month.
“Some of our friends died during the fight to voice our aspiration. The government has to solve this case,” he said.
Hundreds of protesters rally on Jl. Diponegoro in Bandung, West Java on Oct. 17. (JP/Arya Dipa)
In Yogyakarta, hundreds under the Yogyakarta Anticorruption Alliance staged protests in the Tugu area in the city. They demanded that the President issue a Perppu to revoke the KPK Law.
They also staged a performance in which one protester donned a Jokowi mask while his friends pulled him from left to right.
“If the President does not issue the regulation [to revoke the KPK Law], we will keep fighting,” a student from Justicia Student Council of Gadjah Mada University's Law School, Reandi Justitio, said
Another activist, Wazingatu Zakiah of Indonesian Women Against Corruption (PIA), said in her speech that declawing the KPK meant KPK investigators would not be able to catch corrupt people red-handed.
“If [Jokowi] does not issue the Perppu, history would record him as the president who is not against corruption and is entangled with corrupt people,” she said.
In Jakarta, hundreds of students and activists staged a protest demanding the same thing at the National Monument (Monas) square in Central Jakarta.