By Indonesian Peoples Alliance
The Indonesian Peoples Alliance (IPA), a wide alliance of mass and civil society organizations, strongly condemned the government of SBY-Boediono who, through its apparatus, Large City Police in Surabaya, dispersed and arrested activists for staging a manifestation against the annual meeting of APEC trade ministers (Surabaya, April 20 to 21) and trade liberalization agenda. This action has further exposed the government of Indonesia as stooges of the international monopoly capitalist power, so the view of Adityo Ario, Managing Director of the Institute for National and Democracy Studies (INDIES).
“This action shows the desperate attempt of the government of SBY-Boediono to ensure the smooth flow of trade liberalization which in reality is very detrimental to the agricultural and small-medium industrial sectors in Indonesia,” said Ario, who is also member of the National Secretariat of the Indonesian Peoples Alliance (IPA).
The peaceful protest which was carried out by dozens of members of member organizations of IPA in Surabaya: National Students Front (FMN) of Surabaya, FMN of Jombang, FMN of Malang and Youth Communication Forum of Surabaya (FKPS) took place at Basuki Rahmat Street, not far from Hotel JW Mariot at Embong Malang Street where APEC trade ministers meeting was being held. But the peaceful rally was dispersed, its equipments were taken away and its participants were arrested by the Large City Police of Surabaya, arguing that the organizer of the rally had not notified the police. That was only a pretext used by the Police to disperse and to arrest the protesters, said Sandy, the coordinator of the rally. The real reason was because the protest was carried out against the APEC meeting and the agenda of trade liberalization, added Sandy.
“The argument of the police was absurd, since we had submitted yesterday the notification to the Large City Police of Surabaya. It is clear that the police action of dispersing the rally was against our critical position to the APEC. The poster seized by the police was precisely the one which rejects the APEC and the Agenda of Trade Liberalization. And then they arrested 4 comrades and other protesters“, said Sandy, who is also a member of FMN Surabaya.
The protesters who were arrested were Ferdy (FMN Surabaya), Fikri (FMN Surabaya), Muklis (FMN Surabaya) and Harun (FKPS). When this press release was issued, the four protesters were still detained in the Large City Police of Surabaya. The peaceful protest began at 13:30 and was dispersed by force about 14:00 when the rally was moving forward 200 meters from Basuki Rahmat Street towards Embong Malang Street.
The Indonesian Peoples Alliance (IPA) is against this fascist action and we demand the Large City Police of Surabaya to release immediately the arrested protesters because the manifestation they were taking part was an act of citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of 1945 and in accordance with the rules regarding the public expression of opinion. This act of dispersing and arresting protesters is a disgrace to the government of SBY-Boediono who had sold “a democratic Indonesia” in order to attract foreign investment.
“We should keep a record of this government action in the midst of its quest to become the host of international meetings to be held in the coming months which are the APEC Summit (October) and the 9th Ministerial Meeting of WTO (December)” said Ahmad SH, from WALHI, who is also member of the National Secretariat of IPA.