Journal Province: DKI Jakarta Regency/City: Central Jakarta Subdistrict: Tanah Abang

A Note of a Non-demonstrator

UI action mass, when arrived at the location. The one holding the megaphone was Affin, the Chairman of BEM FISIP UI.
Written by Manshur Zikri

I am a college student who is fighting back, but I am not a ‘demonstrator’. I am a citizen who blends in with the mass, but I am not a street ‘insurgent’ who often brings out a disturbance.



More than two weeks ago, I read a news article on a Depok local paper. The news writer said that based on the information from the Head of Social and Economic Planning of Regional Development Planning Agency of Depok, about 60,000 of Depok residents would fall into poverty if the price of liquid (petroleum) fuel (BBM) was increased by the government.

About a week after that, I attended a public discussion which was held by the Student Executive Board (BEM) at Faculty of Social and Political Science (FISIP), University of Indonesia (UI). The discussion still talked about the valid data which could become a base of argument for opposing the government policy about the increase of BBM price. Almost most of the students who attended this discussion didn’t agree if the price of BBM increased, in accordance with the analysis from UI sociologist, Thamrin Tomagola, who presented at that time as a speaker: the government’s reason to increase the price of BBM wasn’t strong. According to him, there were three things that needed to be re-examined.

Thamrin Tomagola while explaining his analysis in the Public Discussion held by the BEM FISIP UI. The picture was accessed from

Thamrin Tomagola while explaining his analysis in the Public Discussion held by the BEM FISIP UI. The picture was accessed from

First, the reason of the increase of BBM price in order to overcome the drop of APBN was unreasonable, and that policy plan was a selfish step, when the corruption problem was the more appropriate reason for the drop of that state budget. Second, that policy to increase the price of BBM was done at the wrong time, considering the people’s misery had worsened because of mistake after mistake which were done by the government. Third, which I thought was very important, the policy discourse, which had already been bragged about long before the decision to increase the price of BBM was officially decreed, had brought out various speculations and disinformation in the media so that it had caused the ‘panic-pre-BBM-price-increase’ effect on people. It was natural then why the price of groceries had already risen before the price of BBM was officially increased.

Following the discourse in that discussion, a few days later BEM FISIP UI organized a declaration to oppose the increase of BBM price with reasons that had already been examined by them, for example, by doing a survey on the lower class citizens about the increase of BBM price. The main thing that they put in the front was that the increase of BBM price had a sociological impact that harmed the society. The reason given by the public relation of government that the BBM subsidy usually was only enjoyed by rich people, who owned private vehicles, immediately was broken by the fact that even the poor could buy a private vehicle on credit nowadays. Instead, the increase of the price of BBM could harm lower class people who rely on BBM use as a resource for their business.

The next day, I heard from a friend on campus that on the day when the plenary session would be held in the People’s Representative Council (DPR) building, the mass of action from BEM UI would do a street protest: opposing the increase of the price of BBM and overseeing the officials’ meeting.

The mass of action of University of Indonesia was getting ready to go demonstrating.

The mass of action of University of Indonesia was getting ready to go demonstrating.

On Thursday night 29 March 2012, I watched the news development on one of the private TV channels, TVOne. The news said that the student demonstrations in other cities went brutally, while more political parties opposed the increase of BBM price now. There were only three factions that supported it: the Democratic Party, PAN and PKB. I remembered clearly that on TV there was writing that said that Burial Bakrie didn’t agree if the price of BBM was increased. This thing later brought out various presumptions, from me and also other college friends. Obviously, like people often complained about on social network sites, the BBM confusion had become a politicization gap which was used by political actors.

On my way home to Lenteng Agung, I was involved in a conversation with my friend, Drajat. We were in the same study program, Journalistic Criminology, at the Department of Criminology, FISIP UI. After we had seen the news, we guessed about the possibility that would happen, which was the price of BBM wouldn’t increase. “That’s for sure, SBY is outvoted, isn’t he?!” I said to Drajat.

“Well, it’s difficult, just wait for the development!” Drajat said. “Will you join the mass to demonstrate tomorrow?”

“Let’s do it, I want to see their demonstration!”


One of my friends, Jodi Afila Ryandra, texted me:

29-Mar-2012 09:59 pm

Are you in, Zik? How about the proposal?

Jodi asked me why I was in. Usually, my friends knew me as a student who didn’t care enough about the demonstration, and was more concerned with the school assignment. It was likely if he guessed that I would prioritize taking care of the internship proposal than going to DPR building under the sun. However, I replied his message like this:

29-Mar-2012 10:41 pm

Yep, I entrust it. We only have to submit it, right?

Of course, I’m in. There’s so much that needs to be exposed, not only bbm, but also the behavior of the media.

The thing that raged in my head was because of the act of media actors, who were not free from political influence and ownership or conglomeration anymore. Since the beginning, when I’d read the news on Depok local paper, I had guessed that the impact of the media coverage of the latest issue, BBM, would bring out the disharmony in the society.

When my friend, Tyas Wardhani, and I decided to visit the DPR building with the intention of watching how the demonstration went, I brought four statements (if it couldn’t be called as truth) inside my head, which were (1) whatever the reason or justification was, the increase of the price of BBM apparently still harmed the lower class people as it had been examined by BEM FISIP UI; (2) more factions at DPR opposed the increase of BBM price (including Golkar which became my main concern), but instead it brought out the suspicion of political measures; (3) a good college student wouldn’t do a brutal action (and I wanted to prove that); and (4) the mainstream media which was ‘owned’ was also responsible for this BBM fuzziness.

I didn’t know why, I thought that I could only verify those four things if I joined the students and labors who did the demonstration, and not by only sitting in front of the television enjoying the somewhat doubtful news from the media, or monitoring the timeline on social networks such as Twitter while eating instant noodles. Therefore, I, who was not a demonstrator, decided to join the mass on the street.


UI action mass, when arrived at the location. The one holding the megaphone was Affin, the Chairman of BEM FISIP UI.

UI action mass, when arrived at the location. The one holding the megaphone was Affin, the Chairman of BEM FISIP UI.

When we got near the DPR building, while Tyas and I were preparing the camera to take pictures of the demonstration atmosphere, someone who claimed to be a journalist from the media that I didn’t remember the name of, approached me.

“Bro, are you the field coordinator?” asked that journalist.

“Oh, no!” I answered immediately. “I’m not with the group.”

“Oh, are you a journalist too, Bro?”

“Yes, from akumassa.”

“Oh, how many students from UI who take part in this, Bro?” the journalist asked again.

Upon hearing that question, I wondered, why did he ask a fellow journalist about that? Wasn’t it better if he looked for the field coordinator and asked him directly? Because I was annoyed I answered him perfunctorily, “Ng… 500 people, maybe, Bro!” And the journalist wrote it in a pocket book that he carried with him, and then he went.

The journalist (right) who asked me.

The journalist (right) who asked me.

I, who felt a bit guilty, then verified my answer myself to Mizan, FISIP UI student who was one of the field coordinators of UI mass action. “There were 250 students who participate from UI!” he said. I wished I had been able to tell that journalist about this, but he had already disappeared since he wrote the answer from me. Had he verified the information I had given him? I didn’t know.


Around the DPR building, there were many elements of society, from the labor activists and students to the merchants and the street waste pickers; from the officials who were busy moving back and forth in their luxury cars through the back gate to the inhabitants who only watched, and of course the journalists.

One of the media which was doing the coverage.

One of the media which was doing the coverage.

I, Tyas and the second group of students from UI had taken Kopaja bus from Depok to the DPR building, and arrived there about 45 minutes after Friday prayer. While UI students formed a line and sang the songs of students struggle passionately, Tyas and I were moving fast toward the gate where the labors had been doing the oration. We recorded all that we saw using our camera. I took an interest in the journalists who did the coverage, while Tyas took an interest in the event at the location which she thought was unique, such as the fritters vendor who was overwhelmed with buyers in the middle of the demonstration, the labors who joked and laughed as they relaxed under the sun while listening to the oration, and the brutal actions from irresponsible people, who started to burn the tires and threw them at the yard of the DPR building through the iron fence.

When I was in the middle of that crowd, I saw that many traffic barriers had been knocked down by the mass. Some waste pickers picked up the iron waste, maybe they would weigh and sell them. What interesting was that several orators shouted, “Please take those irons! That is our money. That’s a gift from us, the action mass, to the people who live in misery!”

The demonstrators were knocking down the traffic barrier.

The demonstrators were knocking down the traffic barrier.

Thirty minutes had passed when Tyas was being involved in a conversation with a few people who were busy dabbing their faces with a kind of white paste, exactly under their eyes.

“Toothpaste?” I heard Tyas asked. “What for?”

“Yes, so that your eyes won’t sting if the police use the tear gas,” explained one of them.

Tyas and I laughed upon hearing about this interesting new information then we were back into taking pictures of every moment that was captured by our eyes.

Tyas, when taking pictures in the middle of the demonstration.

Tyas, when taking pictures in the middle of the demonstration.

Orations from the orators who led the crowd had been heard back and forth. At the left part of the gate the labors shouted, blaming the government who didn’t care about the people’s welfare. Occasionally, the songs with folk nuance were played and the labors danced while waving the flags and pennants of their organizations or labor unions. Meanwhile, at the right part of the gate, the group of students did the oration in their own way: using the megaphone, forming lines with big body people acted as the fence, occasionally singing a song of struggle totality to increase the romanticism of the demonstrators.

However there was something nagged at the back of my mind: why did the demonstrators start to prepare to cover their faces with toothpaste? Would there be a riot again like the demonstration that had happened on Tuesday, 27 March 2012?


The clock on my cell phone showed that it was 3:30 PM. The action mass was getting bigger and the atmosphere was getting hotter. The provocations had been heard from some people, shouting to knock down the building fence. It seemed that the song with the lyrics “Be careful… be careful… be careful, provocation!” didn’t have any effect whatsoever. The louder that song was sung by the demonstrators, the harder those fences were struck by them using stones that they picked up from the street.


The action of the demonstrators was getting more brutal. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the intention to knock down the tall iron fences wasn’t just a provocation anymore. The demonstrators, either they were labors or students, or people who got paid, started to remove the banners which had been posted on the fence before. The banner was twisted then hooked onto the fence. A moment later, a group of people moved quickly, holding that banner and started to pull so that the fence could be knocked down.

Several people were attempting to knock down the fence of DPR RI building.

Several people were attempting to knock down the fence of DPR RI building.

Tyas and I shifted our attention to that action. My camera recorded the fierce action of the demonstrators second by second. Suddenly, one of them admonished me. He didn’t forbid me to record them, but he reminded me about the identity card. “Be careful, Bro, if the police go forward, they could think that you are a provocateur. Where is your identity card?”

Tyas and I understood this. Quickly, we wore the alma mater jacket (I also placed my akumassa press card around my neck). To avoid the riot, we chose to stay away. We had been trapped in the middle of the crowd. Fortunately, there was a crowd of students who pulled us back into the line. Slowly, Tyas and I retreated and chose to take pictures from a considerable distance from the demonstrators.

The demonstrators were starting to make a riot.

The demonstrators were starting to make a riot.

In front of us, the mass struck the fence more forcefully. The black smoke billowed to the sky, their swearing in blaming the government and the member of DPR could be heard clearly. “They have been here since the morning, but they will do the meeting tonight instead! What kind of DPR is that? Lazybones!” said one of the labors beside me.

My disappointment arose instantly when I heard one of the orators who initially had blamed President SBY for his unwise policy, now was saying that Prabowo was more suitable to lead this country. I looked around, the mass with party pennants started to fill the area. Cars with pictures of Megawati on them, were everywhere, flags with Prabowo’s pictures on them, were waved.


At 4:30, one of iron fences of DPR building was broken-down. The mass poured into the building courtyard. The lines of police with shields and full anti-riot attires formed the boundary to limit the mass movement. Strangely, I saw many people sat casually on the lawn. Nobody moved farther past the lines of police which actually could be passed easily. Meanwhile, the crowd in front of the main gate struck the fence more forcefully to provoke the police.

The atmosphere after the collapse of DPR RI building fence.

The atmosphere after the collapse of DPR RI building fence.

Tyas and I then tried to enter the courtyard. We took shot after shot to record the situation after the collapse of the first fence. A moment later, someone who claimed that he had gone to Master Program at UI, approached us.

“Be careful, don’t think that you are already safe,” he said. “People who sat casually here might be intelligences. If you walk farther towards the building, you could be arrested!” he explained.

Indeed, I was aware that our yellow jackets were very striking. To avoid the undesirable things, and considering that Tyas didn’t have a press identity card, we both decided to leave the courtyard through the broken fence.

The atmosphere of the courtyard of DPR RI building.

The atmosphere of the courtyard of DPR RI building.

Finally I decided to record the mass action which started to knock down the second fence. However, I had just pushed the play button for a few seconds when suddenly a number of people were scattering through the broken fence, maybe they escaped from the police. Tyas, who was beside me, didn’t move. I pulled her quickly away from the fence, and we searched for a safe position.

“Easy! Easy! Don’t be fooled, the police won’t dare! Move along, move! Nobody goes out! Keep going, tear down the fence again!” exclaimed one of the other orators.

When the crowd moved forward again, we sat in a rather quiet area. Tyas, who had been panicked before, started to relax and free from nervousness. I didn’t know why, an oration from a woman who claimed to be an activist in 1974 became a rather soothing entertainment. “Don’t fight everything back with violence, don’t fight back with a knife! We are the victims of the government who doesn’t care about people, but we have to fight back with heart!” she shouted. Her oration felt more like a talk show on television because there was another orator who asked her to chat using a microphone. From their orations, we knew that the woman preferred to be called Oma and admitted that she admired Akbar Tandjung so much. “Long live Indonesian people! I love you full!” she shouted.

Huh, why was the oration like that?” I asked wonderingly, while Tyas couldn’t suppress a laugh.


In the middle of that mass who had been getting anxious, exactly at the time when the first fence had been being knocked down, I had had a conversation with a waste picker who had said that his name was Jupri. From his mouth, I’d heard praise after praise for the college students. “I like that the college students often make friends with fellow waste pickers. Especially near Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr), they often give us groceries!” he said. “Are you from Depok, Bro?”

“Yes, Sir, I am a UI student!” I answered.

“I often see students joining the street musician, doing research, chatting with other students and me! Are you from economy, Bro?”

“No, Sir, I’m from social science.”

“Oh, do you do research too, Bro?”

“Yes, sometimes we do it too, Sir!”

“I’ve had a long conversation with students too, they took a picture of me also,” he told us. “Now the device is already sophisticated, isn’t it? All in one. You can take pictures and sound at a time. In the past, it was only the sound, or it was only the picture!” he laughed.

“Yes, Sir, so it’s quicker and easier to carry,” I said.

“Please help us, Bro, hopefully the increase of the price won’t happen. It would be difficult for us!”

“Yes, just wish us luck, Sir. We are trying here!” I said, then I said goodbye to him to get back to my activity, taking pictures.

Mr. Jupri.

Mr. Jupri.

Besides Mr. Jupri, I had been asked by a woman whose appearance was like a common resident. “Have you been inside, Son?” she asked when the second fence collapsed.

“No, Ma’am, we just stay here, taking pictures!” I answered.

“You’d better go inside! Ask them to decrease the price! They don’t know that it’s difficult for people!” she grumbled. “Has the gate been opened?”

“No, it hasn’t, Ma’am, but there has already been a broken fence. But people haven’t gone inside yet.”

“Why haven’t they gone inside? Just fight those police!”

I didn’t know what to say. I briefly remembered what one of the orators (not students) said, and said it again to that woman, “Yes, they plan to knock the fence down again, Ma’am, so that they can go in and out more freely!”

“Well, that’s good! Just destroy it, they built it using our money!” she said in annoyance. I then got separated from that woman when more and more people were getting close to the broken fence.

The woman who chatted with me.

The woman who chatted with me.

At 6 o’clock, I observed that area. The situation heated up. But the group of UI students (what I meant here was the students from BEM UI line) wasn’t seen at all. A few journalists carried the camera, recording the event. Many times a helicopter passed above the crowd. From my position, I saw that the helicopter directed a camera downwards. I guessed that maybe it was the media who was covering, but it might be the police who were doing the observation. The point was, every time the helicopter passed, the demonstrators yelled and swore. There were even people who made the hand gesture to insult the helicopter.

One of the demonstrators was swearing at the helicopter that passed.

One of the demonstrators was swearing at the helicopter that passed.

Believing that we had already got enough pictures, Tyas and I finally decided to join the BEM UI team who stuck around at the rear of the DPR building.

There, I met Affin, the Chairman of BEM FISIP UI. I told him what I had watched in the crowd in the front area of the building.

“Can you imagine? Two fences had collapsed and the gate had already been opened. But people still struck the fence with stone and nobody got in!” I talked animatedly.

“Well, that was obviously a provocation!” Affin responded. “They provoked a riot, waiting for the police to make the first move!”

“Oh, yes, why have the UI formation moved to the rear when it was empty in the middle, Fin?”

“The boys wanted it, Bro, they were afraid something would happen,” explained Affin. “We come here not to make a riot, right? The point is only to negotiate with the officials.”

“But the presence of UI among the crowd could be the axis so that the riot wouldn’t happen, Bro!”

“Well, for the experienced ones, like you or me, there wasn’t any problem for sure, Zik!” he said laughingly. “But this time, the ones that join the demonstration are mostly freshmen.”


At seven o’clock, the female students of UI mass were required to go home by BEM, considering the situation was getting unsafe because apparently the riot in the front part was getting bigger. Tyas didn’t join that group and preferred to stick around at the location. “I’m not a demonstrator, aren’t I? I only take pictures!” she told Affin.

A clash between the police and the demonstrators. The picture was accessed from

A clash between the police and the demonstrators. The picture was accessed from

Hundreds of people were repulsed by the police using the tear gas. Some of the demonstrators moved towards the back part of the building, some others were expelled as far as Slipi area (according to Beringin, one of the student journalists I knew at FISIP).

When I took a rest in one of the small satay restaurants, Tyas and I with some other students watched the news coverage on television in that small restaurant, about the riot situation in the front area. I was confused, why it was always TVOne which enthusiastically reported about it. Besides, I detected that the news was rather exaggerated. It wasn’t only me who thought that way, my other student friends too. The reporter didn’t say about the possibility of the provocateurs who got paid, but generalized and said that the rioters were students and labors.

“Aww, darn it!” I said in annoyance. “The ones who got paid, they were the rioters!”

“You didn’t know, there were people who got paid here,” said one of the students in the restaurants. “They were offered the T-shirts plus 5,000 IDR each to make a riot. So crazy!” he said, shaking his head.

I, personally, was sure that a good student certainly wouldn’t do a brutal act. My opinion was supported by the fact that in that small restaurant, the students were watching the news together with the police who were taking a rest between their duties overseeing the progress of the demonstration. I saw the closeness between these two elements of society.

“Has the decision been made, Fin?”

“Not yet, the meeting has not even started yet, it will start later at 10 o’clock! Our delegations have already been inside, we sent 20 students!”

Around 9 o’clock in the evening, I heard from my friends who kept monitoring the news that the group of mass who made the riot had already dispersed. It seemed that it was only action mass from BEM UI who still stuck around in the back peacefully.

The action mass of BEM UI kept waiting for the news from the delegations who were inside the plenary session room. “We will keep monitoring until the decision is made!” said Affin.


“Why did it have to be a riot?” Tyas asked when we were taking a rest among UI students, who were also resting in front of the back area fence. “Why does the meeting have to be in the evening?”

“Well, what else should they do? The officials want to meet if the demonstration was over,” I commented.

“Meanwhile, the demonstrators will be angry if the meeting doesn’t start soon. Well, stone meets stone, if one is pitted against another, they will be broken. It equals riot!”

“See, just like Oma said, everything had to be fought back with heart!” Tyas said laughingly.

Toward 10 PM, BEM UI mass who had been taking a rest stood up again and formed lines. They did the oration again even though it was already late. Then, they moved closer to the fence, and the orator complained about his disappointment at the inconsistency of the faction members of DPR RI. I heard the sound of the fence being struck again. It grew louder and louder, repeatedly.

“What happened, Fin?”

“The factions that initially opposed now are walking out! So absurd!” explained Affin.

“Ha? What?!” I clenched my fist because I was very upset, and I wasn’t surprised when some of the members of BEM UI action mass got emotional too. How could they not? Walking out meant taking no responsibility, they opposed but didn’t push. “So they let the government increasing the BBM price, but they are not responsible if anything happens!” explained Affin. “It’s the same as if they approve, right?”

The action mass from BEM UI who started to get emotional made the police more alert. I saw Affin and the other mass leaders talking to the police. I also saw that there were several young people wearing non-uniform clothes. They started to go around the action mass of BEM UI. My suspicion then arose, perhaps they were intruders who wanted to look for an opportunity to start a riot.

Finally, for security and order consideration, BEM UI action mass decided to move away from the DPR building towards the Senayan West Entrance to wait for Kopaja bus to go home. Around 11, all BEM UI action mass, including Tyas and I, went home to Depok, while Affin and several other student activists were still at the location to monitor the meeting.


The commotion inside the DPR RI meeting room. Picture was accessed from

The commotion inside the DPR RI meeting room. Picture was accessed from

At UI campus, Depok, a few moments after I got off the Kopaja bus, I heard the advanced news that the UI student delegations inside the meeting room did the commotion again. They were involved in a commotion with the Pamdal (Internal Security) instrument of DPR RI. I had not been able to update the news. However, based on the information from friends who had watched the television, the students got emotional because of the additional paragraph which was added to the Article 7 in the 2011 Law No. 22. As reported on the next day, some parties in Budget Committee meeting had proposed a new paragraph, which was in Article 7 paragraph 6 (a) which gave the government discretion to do the adjustment of BBM price if for six months the average of Indonesia crude oil price (ICP) increased or decreased more than 15 percent.

“Well, that’s the same as approving the increase of BBM price!” I said after hearing the story from Ian who kept monitoring the news on TV.


So, what could be concluded from this story? At least, some of my earlier assumptions were quite correct. Based on my conversation with Mr. Jupri and a woman in the middle of demonstration, apparently the increase of the price of BBM indeed had not been able to be accepted yet by the citizens. The government’s homework was to find another wiser way than sacrificing the important thing for people. Like the orators had said many times in demonstration, “The 150,000 IDR money was not the solution! That was a perfunctory solution!”

The measure that was taken by the Factions that opposed the increase of BBM price, if I thought about it again, was only a political measure apparently. Was that maybe to attract public’s sympathy? In the end, as reported on on 30 March 2012, at 19:13, 6 factions at DPR (Golkar, PAN, PKS, PPP, PKB and Democratic Party) approved the addition of paragraph 6 (a) to the Article 7 of the 2011 Law No. 22 about APBN 2012. Just like Burhanudin Muhtadi, a researcher from Indonesian Survey Foundation, said, which was later quoted by the same website, this support gave room for the government to increase the price of BBM with the paragraph addition in RUU APBNP 2012. “With that option then the increase is just a matter of time. They realized that BBM issue wasn’t popular. They acted like they opposed but gave an institutional ticket to the government to increase the price of BBM. So, this was all just for the political imaging and electoral interest,” said Burhanuddin. His opinion was also published on Suara Pembaruan (see

Then, how about the demonstration which ended in a riot? This thing couldn’t be viewed subjectively. As a matter of fact, I witnessed with my own eyes that the riot on 30 March 2012 demonstration had been triggered by the people who were exploited. If there were people from students circle, then it would be an interesting discussion. But I was intrigued to think again when I read a comment on the demonstration picture which was uploaded by an account on Facebook. That comment which was written by an account by the name of Pramilla Deva Ellesandra was like this:

“…It was simple for me, when there was a mass hysteria and people went down the street, everything couldn’t be controlled and predicted anymore. Everything was spontaneous. People who opposed the policy were the same as people who accepted it. Each of them had their own action. Asking the demonstrators to not do harm, was the same as asking the government to not increase the price of BBM. We could only hope, but the action couldn’t be fully controlled. Maybe the difference was that the demonstrators could be repulsed by the police barricade using tear gas or rubber bullets, while the government still had the absolute power to increase or cancel the increase of the BBM price no matter what happened (in other words, they were untouchable).

The method of the “coercion” might be different: the demonstrators ‘pushed’ the government to annul the policy by creating a momentum in a form of a riot or commotion which had fatal impact, while the government insisted people to just accept the increase of BBM price by any means, in various ways. They were in power, weren’t they?

Btw, is there anybody who can explain to me what “demonstration in a noble way” means?


“I am confused,” said one of the female students whose name I didn’t know, on the night a moment after the demonstration. “Why did the TV only report about the riot? Also, those parties, it wasn’t clear what they really wanted!”

I didn’t know where I got the inspiration, but I responded, “We could read it between the lines. The action mass had been done the oration since morning, and it had already been ‘hot’ from the beginning. But I saw it myself, the rioters just came around four o’clock, then they started to burn things, also around that time that I started to see many TV journalists. It was the time for a primetime show. The riot started then they did the live coverage. Which channel did you watch? We all know who owns the TV channel that we watched, right?

We were all silent, because we realized the fuzziness that was happening in this country. Even the government and the officials in DPR RI could act as if they tricked their citizens on April Fools’ Day. After happily bragging about the increase of the price of BBM, then giving the refusing statements, in the end they gave the confusion with the additional regulation in the legislation instead. April might not be a month when the price of BBM increased, but who could guess what would happen six months from now?

My expectation is that hopefully the mainstream media realizes to not give excessive restlessness among people. If not, then don’t blame the young people if they make a riot.

About the author


Manshur Zikri

He is graduates of the Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social and Political Science, University of Indonesia. A member of Forum Lenteng, he is an executive of akumassa Program. He is also active as a film critic at the Journal Footage, and as Curator in ARKIPEL - Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival.

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