One-Year Anniversary of Aceh Peace Deal Draws Commemorations and Protests

More than 10,000 protesters gathered in front of Banda Aceh’s Baitur Rahman Mosque to accuse the Indonesian government of failing to deliver on promises made when it signed a peace agreement last year in Helsinki, Finland, with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). The protesters called on the government to make changes on a recently-passed bill for governing Aceh.

GAM leaders have said they have no intention of taking up arms again, but have also called for changes in the new law to reflect the degree of autonomy promised in the peace agreement. The government says that the law can be amended in one or two years. But it also argues that the clause it agreed to in Helsinki would have given Aceh's legislature more power than that of the national parliament, which would have violated the Indonesian constitution.

Fakhurradzie M. Gade, “Aceh Peace Deal Marked in Indonesia,” Yahoo News, 15 August 2006.