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May Day action in Indramayu attacked by Pancasila and Golkar youth thugs

Cuplik.com - May 1, 2013

Indramayu Ė A peaceful International Labour Day action ended in chaos when members of the Pancasila Youth (PP) attacked protesters during a May Day action in the West Java city of Indramayu on Wednesday May 1.

The brawl broke out when protesters from the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI), farmers, fisherpeople and several other organisations moved off from the audience hall at the Indramayu regents' official residents and headed towards the Indramayu labour office.

"Who knows what the problem was but we were suddenly attacked from behind by hundreds of Pancasila Youth members, several of our comrades were injured after being beaten and pelted by stones from the rear, initially they declared they wanted to join the action, we happily accepted, but it turned out they were lying, they attacked from behind", one of the action coordinators, Agus, told Cuplik.com.

It is suspected that the brawl was triggered by a speech by one of the workers, Sahali SH, who questioned the performance of Regent Anna Sophanah and her husband Irianto MS Syafiuddin (Yance) in relation to the regional government's policies on labour and the people of Indramayu in general.

Activists and observers believe that the PP and members of Kosgoro (Mutual Assistance Cooperative, a Golkar Party affiliated youth group) were acting as the advance guard for the administration of Sophanah and Syafiuddin, who have been in office for three terms, since 2000.

The brawl at the audience hall ended after security personnel from the military, police and Mobile Brigade (Brimob) were able to separate the two camps.

The PP however, with the help of Kosgoro members, again attacked the demonstrators near the Mambo Indramayu market around 700 metres from the audience hall. A short time later officers from the Brimob C Detachment from the nearby city of Cirebon arrived and the PP members were finally forced to retreat.

When sought for confirmation by Cuplik.com, Indramayu municipal police division head, operational police commander Dian Setiawan, said that as many as 769 police officers had been deployed.

Indramayu district military commander Asyik Rudianto meanwhile provided few details saying only that a number of military personnel had been deployed. "Just a few right, not many", said Rudianto. In response to the incident, several of the demonstrators who fell victim to the attack have reported to police.

The protesters came from a number of different labour groups including the Pantura Trade Union Federation (FSBP), the Working Partners Trade Union (SBMK), the Indramayu Trade Union (SBI), the Dwikora Independent Workers Union (SPM DWIKORA), the Indonesian Ceramic Workers Trade Union (SBKI) and the Tanker Truck Drivers Trade Union (SMAT).

Meanwhile other organisations that joined the action in solidarity included the West Java All Indonesian Fishers Association (HNSI), the Indramayu Farmers Union of Struggle (SPPI), the Indramayu Indonesian Migrant Workers Trade Union (SBMI) and the Indramayu Community Based Legal Assistance Post (PBHBM). (Gibra/wo)

Notes

Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youth) was established by the army in October 1959, ostensibly to uphold the state ideology of Pancasila, but under former president Suharto the organisation became an association of notorious thugs and petty criminals who carried out dirty work on behalf of the regime. The organisation still has close ties with various factions of the military and police, and have been linked to criminal activities such as racketeering and extortion. In recent years the organisation has been involved in a number of violent turf wars with mass organisations such as the Native Jakarta Brotherhood Forum.

[Buruh dan PP Ribut dalam Aksi May Day di Indramayu - Cuplik.com. Rabu, 1 Mei 2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service.]

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