Indonesia activists protest Prabowo’s expected election win

Indonesia activists protest Prabowo’s expected election win
Indonesia activists protest Prabowo’s expected election win

Hello and welcome to the details of Indonesia activists protest Prabowo’s expected election win and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People raise yellow papers during a silent protest called "Kamisan" outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, February 15, 2024. — Reuters pic

JAKARTA, Feb 16 — Indonesian activists whose children disappeared or were shot dead by military forces in the 1990s protested late yesterday against the expected presidential victory of Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.

The 72-year-old ex-special forces general declared victory on Wednesday after preliminary results from government-approved pollsters indicated he would win the high office with a majority at his third attempt.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace in the capital Jakarta in protest, holding up yellow cards, blowing whistles and unfurling a banner reading “save democracy”.

Non-governmental organisations and his former bosses accuse Prabowo of ordering the abduction of democracy activists towards the end of dictator Suharto’s three-decade rule. Prabowo has denied responsibility and was never charged.

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More than a dozen have never been found.

One of them is Paian Siahaan’s son Ucok, who disappeared in the last months of Suharto’s rule when Prabowo was a top commander. He was 22 when he went to a protest and never came back.

“This is beyond our prediction after following the campaigns and debates. We didn’t anticipate that he would win by such a wide margin,” said the 77-year-old.

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“So we are consoling each other in the group,” he added, referring to victims’ families who now protest weekly together.

Maria Catarina Sumarsih is one of those who holds a silent protest every week near Indonesia’s presidential palace, seeking answers about her son’s killer from top officials who presided over the military’s bloody crackdown on protesters.

Her son Wawan was shot by an army bullet after the 1998 fall of Suharto, according to an autopsy, but no military leader has been held responsible for his death.

Prabowo was discharged from the military several months before Wawan’s death, but she called for him to allow an investigation into his past and said rights violations would be harder to prosecute if he became president.

“If Prabowo is genuinely committed to serving the nation, he should surrender himself... so that the attorney general can follow up on the investigation files of the 1998 tragedies,” the 71-year-old said.

Analysts say Prabowo’s popularity rose after he rehabilitated his image on social media and pledged to continue the economic agenda of popular outgoing leader Joko Widodo.

Final results are expected next month but the slower, official count has put Prabowo on course for a majority win with nearly half counted. — AFP

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