Dozens of college students in Bali gathered in Denpasar on Tuesday to represent a coalition of student alliances staging a protest rejecting the “people power” movement that’s brewing in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in protest of the official presidential election results that were released yesterday declaring President Joko Widodo the winner.
“First of all, we reject the unconstitutional ‘people power’ movement. When we say unconstitutional, we mean that they violate existing regulations. One of the reasons why we reject ‘people power’ (movement) is because they reject the results from KPU (General Election Commission),” said I Wayan Darmayasa, a coordinator of the student protests, as quoted by Detik.
According to a report from Media Indonesia, the students marched with Indonesian flags, and banners that say “Democracy Yes, Unconsitutional No” or “Democracy without respect for the rule of law is criminal,” among other things.
“When students engaged in people power in 1998, they went to the streets because they felt that our country was in turmoil at the time, but now people power is not required, and for that I and all of us here reject people power,” said Suwawa Kiki, who represented the Indonesian Hindu Dharma Students Alliance (KMHDI), as quoted by Media Indonesia.
KMHDI is one of the student alliances that took part in Tuesday’s interfaith protest along with other student groups, including the Indonesian Christian Students Movement (GMKI) and the Bali Regional Muhammadiyah Students Alliance (IMM).
The announcement by KPU on early Tuesday, certifying that President Jokowi had defeated his rival Prabowo Subianto once again, came a day earlier than expected but still led to mass protests by Prabowo supporters at the offices of KPU and the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) in Central Jakarta that same day, followed by chaos last night after clashes between police and protesters escalated into violent riot that is still affecting parts of Jakarta today..
“For us (college students), there is nothing wrong with people power, but the most important thing is to have a clear reason for it,” Darmayasa said, as quoted by Kumparan.
He further explained that the people power movement should originate from citizens who are oppressed and discriminated against by their corrupt government, emphasizing that it should not be a means to take over power, according to a Bali Post report.
“What we want today is for the country to unite, to engage in a national reconciliation, that’s why we are here. We don’t want any more disintegration or polarization,” Darmayasa said.