Dozens of becak (pedicab) drivers from Surakarta, Central Java, rallied in front of Pasar Gede Solo on Friday to protest a statement by the Central Java governor that the regency’s objection to a mall was because of manipulation.

“We are only becak drivers. We regret of Pak Governor’s statement accusing us of rallying because of payments. We reject the mall building because we will not get any benefits from it,” they said.

Danu Supriyono, the head of the Surakarta becak driver community said, “I am disappointed by the governor’s statement that claimed that Surakarta people’s objections were related to the upcoming gubernatorial election in 2013. I can’t accept that. Besides, that also means accusing Pak Jokowi [Surakarta’s mayor]. That’s not a leader’s statement,” he said.

On Thursday, Bibit Waluyo said there was a political content behind Surakarta residents’ objections to the mall. “Demonstrations these days? Who pays? If anyone wants to be governor, the person should wait until 2013,” Bibit said.

The relationship between the Central Java governor and the Surakarta mayor has been strained since the latter objected to the building of another mall in Surakarta. The governor even called the mayor “stupid” because of the objection.



The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 07/01/2011 9:49 PM