The Jakarta Post
The North Jakarta administration recently evicted illegal settlements on Jl. Sunter Agung Perkasa VIII in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, leaving dozens of residents unsheltered and feeling betrayed over the pledge made by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan during his campaign trail not to carry out evictions.
One resident, Subaidah, said most of the evicted people voted for Anies in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections, during which Anies took a different stance to his rival and predecessor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who blatantly claimed that it would take eviction in order to manage Jakarta.
“We were Anies’ voters, why are we being evicted? He said there would be no eviction under his administration,” she said on Saturday as reported by kompas.com.
Another evictee, Ardi, said he and his neighbors had high hopes for Anies and were moved to collect support to help Anies win the gubernatorial race.
Ardi, just like many of his neighbors, is still reluctant to move despite the eviction. They have built tents out of anything they could find from the ruins of their houses.
“We can’t move. We live here because this is where we earn a living. Even if the city relocates us to a low-cost apartment, I don’t think we’d survive because we wouldn’t have a place to run our business,” he said, adding that the residents refused to be relocated to low-cost apartments.
Most residents of Jl. Sunter Agung Perkasa VIII make a living by selling secondhand home appliances and furniture. Many of them have been living in the area since the 1980s.
The administration evicted dozens of residents on Thursday to restore the river in the area as well as to make sidewalks and a road.
The North Jakarta administration carried out the eviction with the help of 1,500 joint personnel from the local police, the Public Order Agency and the Public Facility Maintenance Agency. They tore down semi-permanent houses with heavy equipment, which met with protests from residents who remained at the location despite previous warnings and electricity being cut.
North Jakarta Mayor Sigit Wijatmoko claimed that the move was needed to repair the water drainage system in the location as part of flood mitigation efforts for the upcoming rainy season. He refuted critics of the forced evictions, saying that his office had approached residents and made them aware about the plan two months prior to the scheduled eviction.
He further claimed that some residents had also dismantled their own houses and that the personnel deployed helped to speed up the process.
“We have offered them to move to Marunda low-cost apartment [in North Jakarta]. But apparently they prefer to go back to their actual address; some in Penggilingan, some in Kebon Bawang, Tanah Abang, and many more. They only lived in Sunter for work,” he said as reported by kompas.com on Monday. (vla)