“People over profit! Junk WTO! Bubarkan WTO!”

These were a few of the many slogans that around 150 students and youth under the banner of the Indonesian People’s Alliance were chanting when they trooped to the United States Consulate in Bali, Indonesia today.

Various youth organizations affiliated with the Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN), the leading youth organization in Indonesia, gathered at Renon and marched towards the US Consulate calling for the upholding of people’s interests over corporate greed.

The protest action was the first in a series of activities and events against the World Trade Organization (WTO) that will hold its 9th Ministerial Meeting at Nusa Dua, Bali on December 3-6.

“We are joining the growing people’s resistance against the WTO as we demand that the youth and the people’s interests, not neoliberal policies, be made priority by national governments like the Indonesian government,” said Sandy Ame, general secretary of the FMN.

According to Ame, education in Indonesia is slowly being privatized and corporatized at the expense of the school-age youth. School fees continue to increase and more students are dropping out of schools because their families cannot afford the high price of education in the country.

“The youth deserve the right to a free and people-centered education that will contribute to genuine nation-building and not to imperialist interests. Because of the WTO, education has become commercialized and youth and students have become commodities for the so-called “free market”,” Ame said.

FMN is part of the IPA, an alliance of national and international organizations in and outside Indonesia calling for the junking of the WTO. It will organize a youth solidarity festival as part of the week-long People’s Global Camp organized by the IPA at the Ngurah Rai Sports Center, Denpasar, Bali on December 3-6, 2013.

Photos by Boy Bagwis.

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