Yogyakarta, a “Special Region”
Indonesia has a region simply known as the ‘Special Region of Yogyakarta’. What makes this region special is its system separate from the rest of the nation’s; a feudal system, under which a Sultan rules. This Sultan has powers far above any other individual within the region, which has sparked unrest within the Sultanate.
The Hands of the Sultan
The Sultan of Yogyakarta has next to no balances to keep him in check as he does as he pleases with the region.
One of the more notable abuses of power that have sparked protest is the use of his ability to evict individuals and redistribute land. Often, it leads to the region being controlled by some few individuals with the privilege of having a closer relationship with the Sultan. Dissidents and other ‘inconvenient’ landowners have their lands taken without any justification, often to the point of violent eviction.
Statistically, the region has some of the highest economic inequality in the nation, as well as a crime rate higher than most others, spurred on by desperation for food and other simple living needs.
Protest Against the Monarch
All of these contributed to the protests sparked on May Day, where a demonstration was orchestrated in an attempt to spur on further unrest against the Sultan; to disrupt the flow of cash into his hands, his family’s hands, and the hands of their allies. Forty-four of those who participated were arrested, and the police are on the look out for others who were not. These forty-four were denied access to their legal teams overnight, and one legal aid was themselves arrested and beaten by the police, further hindering attempts to assist those in custody.
We are just people who are sick. Sick of everything that is going on
around us and how the people are lulled by this false consciousness,
telling them that everything is fine.
As of now, many remain imprisoned, as others call for further protest against their Sultan.