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SBY warns against fueling violence JAKARTA - While protests are mounting ahead of the government's announcement of the new fuel prices, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned the public against turning violent. "Go ahead if you want to express yourselves by protesting, but don't burn or destroy things. (Peaceful expression) is what democracy is all about," Susilo said during a meeting with university rectors at the State Palace on Wednesday.

Susilo added that he could understand why people were challenging the government's policy to increase the gasoline, diesel and premium prices starting Saturday, and he respected the differences of opinion. Any government policy, he said, had the potential to spark controversy among those that oppose something, but he asked protesters to provide adequate grounds for their opposition.

"Please, explain to the public why you oppose the plan. That's how good political education works," Susilo asserted. He reiterated that the government's decision to raise fuel prices was made after consulting with the House of Representatives. In this time of hardship, Susilo added, the fuel subsidy cannot be retracted, but instead has to be reduced with the consequence of increasing fuel prices.

"But surely, our hearts go to the people. I'm deeply sad and my eyes are swollen for thinking day and night to find the way, so that the subsidy can reach people and not be embezzled." The rectors had met with the President to express their opposition to the fuel policy. Protests against increases, meanwhile, continued nationwide, although they appeared to lose a bit of steam after the House approved the government's policy.

In Bandung, at least 20 students from the local Muslim college students union (KAMMI) burned a banner placed in front of the office of state oil and gas company Pertamina. The banner read: "The state budget is not just for a fuel subsidy: Save the fuel and energy." "Pertamina doesn't have the right to tell us to save energy, as many of its employees are corrupt," exclaimed KAMMI chairman Didi RSN.

In Pontianak, West Kalimantan, hundreds of students from various universities rallied at the University of Tanjungpura and the provincial legislature building. They held coffins containing effigies of President Susilo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla. The students demanded a meeting with the council speaker Zulfadhli, but the he was said to be in Jakarta.

Another group of university students staged a peaceful protest at a number of gas stations they went to in Gorontalo, asking the central government to review the fuel policy. They also demanded that the police investigate and imprison people who were hoarding fuel, which had resulted in the acute fuel scarcity at present. "Fuel smuggling is not just because the price of fuel is too cheap compared to other countries, but mostly due to a lack of control from the government," one of the students argued.

In Pekanbaru, Riau, dozens of university students conducted "spot checks" on official cars bearing red plate numbers. The move caused severe traffic jams. They held the car passengers hostage if they could not explain the purpose of using the vehicles, although later they were released. Around 100 members of ultra right-wing Muslim organization Hizbut Tahrir in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan marched through the thoroughfares to protest the fuel policy. They said there must be other ways to reduce the subsidy rather than increasing the fuel prices.

The Hizbut Tahrir in Palembang, South Sumatra, also took to streets to condemn the price increases and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whom they claimed were real the impetus behind the government's controversial policy decision.

Link to related event Related event:
Fuel price hike 1 October 2005

Related blog entries (category 'Protests') Related blog entries (category 'Protests'):
28 September 2005 · Police, troops on standby ahead of fuel price rise
27 September 2005 · Fuel scarcity worsens before price hikes
26 September 2005 · Yudhoyono likely to survive fuel price rise protest
26 September 2005 · Over 2,000 protest planned fuel price rise
23 September 2005 · Indonesia set for fuel cost rise

Posted in Protests @ 29 September 2005 08:20 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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Fuel scarcity worsens before price hikes

Gasoline and diesel shortages worsened across Indonesia as the government's scheduled price increase on Oct. 1 draws near, Jakarta Post reported on Tuesday. Filling stations were packed with long lines of vehicles, while police officers desperately tried to track down on and nab people thought to be hoarding fuel until the price goes up, according to the Jakarta Post.

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I'm glad to have an inlaw visitor dirumah. He can fill up my tank and jerrycan tomorrow at the gas station. This will take him at least 2 hours because of the kilometer queue. This since Monday morning. Emoticon: Puh!

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