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Activists call for full investigation into Wiji Thukul art exhibition closure

Kompas.com - May 16, 2017

Teuku Muhammad Guci Syaifudin, Yogyakarta – Seven men and three women stood in front of the entrance to the governor's office on Jl. Malioboro in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Tuesday May 16.

Each could be seen holding cardboard placards in front of their chests. Written on the placards were messages such as, "Full support for Pusham UII in monitoring the investigation of the case until it reaches the courts", "Makaryo calls on the Yogyakarta governor to hand over the video of the forced closure directly to the Yogyakarta police chief" and "Yogyakarta governor don't become the protector of pro-violence actors".

They also held the silent action with black masking tape covering their mouths. The protest even attracted the attention of motorcycle drivers passing through Jl. Malioboro who slowed down so that they could read what was written on the placards.

The seven men and three women activists, who were holding the protest in the name of the Yogyakarta Community Against Violence (Makaryo), were calling on police to investigate the forced closure of an art exhibition on the works of radical poet Wiji Thukul that was to be held at the Human Rights Study Centre (Pusham) at the Islamic University of Indonesia on May 8.

"We came here with this silent action because of the forced closure. We will also hand over a video of the closure of the exhibition to the governor so that it can then be handed over to the Yogyakarta regional police", said Makaryo coordinator Tri Wahyu on Tuesday.

In addition to this said Tri, the activists are calling on the governor and the regional police not to become the protectors of those that commit violence in Yogyakarta. Both of these leading regional institutions must become the protectors of human rights and oversea a full investigation into cases of violence in Yogyakarta.

"Polda DIY [Yogyakarta regional police] investigators must arrest the perpetrators and take the case to the courts. Don't just make statements about this latest case (of violence) when in fact [violence] keeps happening. So the best way to help is to ensure that cases of violence reach the courts", said Tri.

Tri said that the forced closure of the Wiji Thukul art exhibition only adds to the growing number of cases of violence in Yogyakarta. Based on reports received by Makaryo there have been at least 20 cases of violence in Yogyakarta since 1996. Unfortunately these not all of these have been solved.

"Tomorrow will be the ninth day that we have reported the case to the police. This is important because the district police earned the prestige of solving a hoax news case reported by the Yogyakarta governor in just nine days. Let's hope that they can show such prestige in other cases, including the forced closure of the exhibition", said Tri.


Wiji Thukul -- Street performer and poet, People's Democratic Party (PRD) member Wiji Thukul disappeared in February 1998. It is suspected he was a victim of the military abductions along with other activists which disappeared in Solo (Central Java). The bodies of Thukul and three other PRD activists have never been found and they are presumed dead.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Aktivis Desak Usut Tuntas Kasus Pembubaran Pameran Seni Wiji Thukul".]

Source: http://regional.kompas.com/read/2017/05/16/11584501/aktivis.desak.usut.tuntas.kasus.pembubaran.pameran.seni.wiji.thukul?source=graboards.com.

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