Socialist Worker

Rising food prices provoke angry protests in Indonesia

Issue No. 2087

Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Indonesia in protests over rising food prices.

Last month over 10,000 marched in Jarkata, the Indonesian capital, in protest at soaring soyabean prices.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was forced to respond to the protests by announcing new measures to boost local soyabean production.

Protests have continued across the country.

Last week a coalition of student, worker and left groups joined with victims of land evictions from the tourist areas to march through Yogyakarta in the Central Java province to demand action to stem the rapid price rises.

Protest coordinator Tini Dawu said that the increase in the price of basic commodities such as cooking oil, rice, wheat and soyabean has resulted in additional suffering for the poor.

Wages are already inadequate to support a family.

Soyabean is a staple food in Indonesia so the price rises have triggered great food insecurity and anger among the poor.

The global price of soyabean has risen by about 90 percent over the last year as farmers in the US and elsewhere cut back on the crop in order to grow more corn for biofuels.

The United Nations predicted that the rising price of staple food crops could trigger social conflict around the world.

The Indonesian protests follow unrest in Pakistan last month over wheat shortages and mass protests against the rising corn prices last year in Mexico, known as the Tortilla Riots.

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Tue 5 Feb 2008, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2087
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