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Cablegate: Indonesians Rally to Support Anti-Corruption

VZCZCXRO2336
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #2026 3440954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100954Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4102
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002026

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, DS
NSC FOR D. WALTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ASEC ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIANS RALLY TO SUPPORT ANTI-CORRUPTION
EFFORTS

REF: A. JAKARTA - EAP/MTS 12-09-09 E-MAIL
B. JAKARTA 02015 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please
handle accordingly.

2. (U) SUMMARY: Largely peaceful rallies were held
throughout Indonesia to commemorate International
Anti-Corruption Day on December 9. The turnout was far lower
than originally predicted. Civil society remains firmly
committed to pressing the anti-corruption message and social
networking sites remain active. END SUMMARY.

3. (U) Thousands of Indonesians peacefully took to the
streets on December 9 in commemoration of International
Anti-Corruption Day. Demonstrations were held in all major
cities with participation ranging from an estimated high of
10,000 plus in Jakarta to about 400 in Surabaya in eastern
Java. The only reported incidence of violence was in
Makassar, South Sulawesi. A KFC close to the South
Sulawesi's governor's office came under attack and sustained
minor damage. No one was reportedly injured in the incident.
(Note: The incident did not have anti-U.S. overtones. Due
to its location, this KFC has come under attack several
times.) The primary rallying cry was for Indonesia to free
itself from corruption and for the government to thoroughly
investigate all alleged corruption cases.

4. (U) In the lead up to December 9, local media was
predicting that there would be massive demonstrations which
had the potential to become violent. Thus, the relatively
small rallies and marches were something of a letdown for
anti-corruption activists. Mission observers reported that
in several locations street performers and vendors had seized
the opportunity to make money and that there was a festive
air to the rallies. Even the Corruption Eradication
Commission (KPK), Indonesia's national anti-corruption
committee, held a more low key commemorative ceremony than in
years past.

5. (SBU) Although nearly 20 groups participated in the
December 9 commemoration, two leading groups--Transparency
International Indonesia and Indonesia Corruption
Watch--declined to participate. The two groups broke with
the other organizations because they wanted to keep the rally
focused on the issue of anti-corruption rather than target
specific political leaders or parties (as some activists had
done). Several civil society leaders stressed that the low
turn-out was not an indication of a lack of concern about
eliminating corruption but simply in-fighting among the NGO
community. They stressed that they would continue to press
for reform. Social networking sites remain active in
pressing the anti-corruption message.

HUME

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