A poem written on the wall of a demolished house in Bukit Duri, Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

Forced Eviction Starts in Bukit Duri

BY : BAYU MARHAENJATI & EDO KARENSA

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Jakarta. The Jakarta city administration started to evict residents and demolish homes in Bukit Duri, a slum on the banks of the Ciliwung River in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Wednesday morning (28/09).

More than 300 personnel of the municipal police, or Satpol PP, accompanied by four excavators started demolishing homes in four community units in Bukit Duri at around 8 a.m.

The municipal police officers were met by a peaceful rally organized by dozens of Bukit Duri residents.

"Welcome, machines of destruction. The Ciliwung River will stay in our soul forever," the protesters sang.

Tebet sub-district head Mahludin said the city administration had delivered a third warning letter to the residents on Tuesday, which said the city will proceed with the forced evictions as part of its project to "normalize" the Ciliwung River.

As of this morning, 410 families from Bukit Duri have been moved to the Rawa Bebek government flats in Cakung, East Jakarta.

68 other families are still refusing to move to the low-cost apartment, saying they will wait for their class-action lawsuit against the Jakarta administration to be resolved by the Jakarta Administrative Court.

Jaya Suprana, a businessman and the founder of the Indonesian Museum of Records, called on the Jakarta city administration to cancel the forced eviction and respect the due process of the law.

"We can continue debating about who's right and wrong in this dispute, but, the fact is, a class-action lawsuit is still running at the court," Jaya said at the scene this morning.

The Bukit Duri residents demanded the city administration pay a compensation and build a low-cost government housing in the area — instead of moving them to faraway Rawa Bebek. The residents said a site plan which does not disrupt the administration's blueprint to normalize the Ciliwung River has actually been prepared.

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