Indonesians Protest Rising Fuel Prices

21 November, 2014

In Indonesia, rising fuel prices have led some public transportation groups to go on strike.

Joko Suprapto is chairman of the Organization of Land Transport Owners in the city of Solo. He announced that all public transportation there is on strike after Indonesia's government suddenly cut spending on fuel subsidies. The spending helped to keep fuel prices low. Joko Suprapto wants the government to reconsider the price increase.

He says, "At least give us some kind of help; give us subsidies for additional parts. The government has ordered a limit on the cost of bus ride to just 10 percent. That is unrealistic and we reject it. With conditions in the field, it should be 25 to 30 percent."

City officials in Solo expressed opposition to the government's plan. They are now forced to make changes, such as making budget cuts and delaying development projects.

On Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the government would cut the financial support on fuel. The move led to a 30 percent increase in fuel and other prices overnight.

Indonesians Protest Rising Fuel Prices
An Indonesian student protester runs after he caught fire while throwing a molotov cocktail towards police during a protest against the new president's decision to hike fuel prices this week in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province, Nov. 19, 2014. (REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad)

In an effort to limit the effects of the strike, the government has prepared other forms of transportation. Djoko Widodo is with the East Java transit agency. He says a number of military and government vehicles have been deployed to help passengers in Solo.

He says, "We are looking at the condition of the area, like this morning when the strike began. We immediately worked with the military, police and city government to have their trucks and their operational transportation to drive passengers, without asking people to pay."

Demonstrations are expected to take place in the coming days, with hopes of cancelling the fuel price increase.

The president has admitted the unpopularity of his decision. But he has described the cuts as a compromise to increase government assistance to poor Indonesians. He says the move is needed so that fuel subsidies can be redirected to other programs, such as education and public works projects.

I'm Bob Doughty.

* Yudha Satriono reported this story from Solo, Indonesia. George Grow wrote it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

public - adj. of or about all the people in a community or country; opposite private

striken. a period when workers stop working as way to seek better conditions, more pay or to make other demands

fuel - n. any substance burned to create heat or power

subsidyn. money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low.

cuts - n. an action to make less or reduce

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