Jakarta – Police and soldiers fired rubber bullets on thousands of steel workers staging a violent protest in a West Java town Tuesday, injuring dozens of people.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
June 30, 1998
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian soldiers were involved in the disappearances of pro-democracy activists earlier this year, the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Wiranto, has conceded after months of official denials that the military was linked to the abductions, torture and illegal detentions.
Jakarta – Minister of Defense and Security Affairs/Armed Forces Commander Gen. Wiranto admitted yesterday he is still personally close to former president Soeharto but insisted the relationship did not influence Armed Forces decision-making.
June 29, 1998
Jakarta – Indonesia's parliament Monday approved a proposal to hold a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) to change electoral laws and set the date for general elections. The proposal was made by President B.J. Habibie.
Sander Thoenes, Jakarta – Indonesia will need to use taxpayers' money to bail out some of its banks, further depleting a budget already saddled with an 8.5 per cent deficit, according to a senior International Monetary Fund official.
Indonesian military along with the Governor Abilio Jose Osorio, forced civilian population, civil-servants and young boys to hold a counter demonstration during the time of Europe Union Ambassadors Delegation visit. All companies and businessman have to provide their cars, without exception for the transportation of demonstrators.
Christopher Torchia, Jakarta – When traffic lights blink red at big intersections, beggars, vendors and street musicians swarm around cars, insistently tapping on rolled-up windows. Cadgers abound now in Jakarta, the jobless victims of a yearlong economic crisis in Asia that refuses to let up. Most evenings, two dozen hustlers jostle on a curb near a cluster of luxury hotels.
Jakarta – Government officials and entrepreneurs involved in corruption, collusion and nepotism are parking their money overseas, a newspaper here has reported.
June 28, 1998
Dili - With the delegation of European Union Ambassadors having set foot on Dili, East Timor's capital, less than an hour on Saturday, riots started in this city of some 170,000 inhabitants. Stone-throwing bouts broke out in the heart of the city between pro-integration plus pro-autonomy groups and those demanding a referendum.
Dili – Security concerns forced three European Union (EU) ambassadors to abandon plans Sunday to attend a mass and visit a university in East Timor, protocol officials said. The change in plans followed clashes in the capital Dili on Saturday between pro-and anti-Indonesian East Timorese around the arrival of the visitors in the troubled former Portuguese colony.
Dili – Thousands of people shouting "independence or death" on Sunday mobbed a three-man European Uniondelegation in troubled East Timor, witnesses said. The chanting crowd, estimated at some 6,000 and made up mostly of students and youths, ran alongside and behind the car carrying the three ambassadors.
North Sumatra – Members of the parliamentary (DPR) fact-finding team in Aceh held a meeting at the office of the NGO, WALHI, in Bandar Aceh to receive testimony from victims of violations in Aceh. They were moved to tears from some of the testimony they heard.
London – During the past week, the Habibie regime has announced two measures which it hopes will persuade the international community that it is dedicated to upholding human rights and to a switch in policy towards East Timor. On Friday 24 July, the Justice Minister Muladi announced the release of fifty political prisoners.
June 27, 1998
[This is the detailed chronology of events from June 27-June 29, from the EU Ambassadors' visit to Dili to the tragic shootings in Baucau. The following information was supplied to East Timor International Support Centre by Yayasan Hak (Rights Foundation). The original report was in Bahasa Indonesia - ETISC.]
Dili – Indonesian troops shot dead one man and seriously wounded two others when rival groups of protesters clashed in a town in East Timor Saturday, witnesses said.
June 25, 1998
By John McBeth and Michael Vatikiotis in Jakarta – With the army's newfound support, President B.J. Habibie has a stronger chance of guiding his country along the tortuous course of political and economic reform. The following stories look at the challenges he faces, introduce the aides who have refurbished his image, and point to some powerful friends in Malaysia and Germany.
Grainne Mccarthy, Jakarta – Indonesia's fourth agreement with the International Monetary Fund was greeted with resounding silence in financial markets Thursday, with many analysts dismissing its budgetary targets as still far too unrealistic.
Jakarta – About 500 students staged a protest at the headquarters of Golkar yesterday, calling for the expulsion of two children of former president Soeharto from the dominant political organization.
[Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) released the following statement on June 25.]
Jakarta – Megawati Soekarnoputri tops the list by a big margin in a nationwide survey asking people about who they would like to be president. The survey, organized by the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI)'s camp loyal to Megawati, was advertised in various local newspapers last week.
Muchtar Pakpahan, chair of the SBSI, the Indonesian Prosperity Labour Union has plans to set up a National Workers Party to take on board the political aspirations of workers throughout Indonesia. He has asked Megawati Sukarnoputri to head this party.
Jakarta – Some 50 people attacked and looted a shopping centre in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo on Thursday after a protest rally turned violent, the official Antara news agency reported.
Jakarta – Political forces loyal to former president Soeharto have enormous financial resources at their disposal to engineer a legitimate comeback during the coming elections, politician Soegeng Sarjadi warned here yesterday.
Jakarta – Indonesia's government has confiscated millions of dollars of reforestation funds from firms associated with former President Suharto, a senior minister said yesterday. Forestry and Plantations Minister Muslimin Nasution said the funds were retrieved after an investigation into the way the previous administration had re-routed money into Suharto-linked firms.
Jakarta – What would be the right present for Habibie on his 62nd birthday? A demonstration. That is what around 200 pro-democracy activists under the banner of the Committee for Total Reform (Komite Reformasi Total, KRT), gave him on Thursday morning (25/6), in front of his residence at Jl. Patra 14, Kuningan Jakarta.
Surabaya – The Indonesian army more than doubled its presence at a strike-hit Surabaya factory complex on Thursday as a separate union protest gathered around the local parliament.
June 24, 1998
Dili – An estimated 50,000 people paraded through the streets of the East Timor capital yesterday in a motorcade protest calling for reform and dialogue on the future of the troubled territory, witnesses said.
Jakarta – Minister of Justice Muladi reminds that the political detainees and prisoners who have been released should refrain from political actions which can disturb public security and order. In a state based on law, freed political detainees/prisoners are not immune to law and can be caught again if they violate the law.
Lewa Pardomuan, Dili – East Timorese reacted coolly on Wednesday to a meeting between the territory's Bishop Carlos Belo and Indonesian President B.J. Habibie and said fresh protests demanding a referendum on independence would be held on Thursday.
Martin McLaughlin – Tens of thousands of Indonesian workers have joined in strikes and protests against the military-backed regime and the policies of crippling economic austerity imposed at the dictates of the International Monetary Fund and the US government.
June 23, 1998
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Armed soldiers fanned out across Jakarta today as a key labor leader threatened to launch a new wave of protests from Wednesday. Dr Muchtar Pakpahan called for a "reconciliation dialogue" between the Habibie Government and reform groups and the release of all remaining political prisoners.
Jose Manuel Tesoro, Jakarta – The wealthy Chinese residential neighborhood of Pluit Timur emerged mostly unscathed from the May 13-15 Jakarta riots. Its residents want to keep it that way. On June 16, workers were binding long sticks of wood with barbed wire to form barricades.
Jakarta – Jakarta Military Commander Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said yesterday that his forces would clamp down hard on any workers staging street demonstrations.
Palu – Indigenous people from eight villages in Central Sulawesi and local student and NGO activists went to the Administrative Assembly in the provincial capital on Monday 22nd June. The representation of 75 people, led by Ruslan Sangadji, carried posters and banners in the name of the 'Action Committee of the People of Central Sulawesi for Land Law Reform'.
The recent success of Pauline Hanson's racist One Nation party in the Queensland elections presents new challenges for the progressive movement. Her repeated lie that the "white Anglo-Saxon male" is the most oppressed sector of Australian society is a statement which is inherently racist and anti-woman.
Huge numbers of troops, tanks, rocket launchers, armed motor-cycle troops blockaded the University of Indonesia on Sunday June 21 to stop a rally of factory workers and students at the university.
June 22, 1998
Christopher Torchia, Jakarta – Indonesia's poverty rate may double, stripping at least 20 million people of their jobs, a World Bank official warned Monday in one of his bleakest assessments yet of the Asian nation's economic upheaval.
Gerry van Klinken – Mr Suharto's daughter Tutut told a journalist recently that after resigning as president her father was now resting at home. "If there are no visitors, he reads the newspaper or watches television with his grandchildren", she said.
Jakarta – About 500 Moslem students rallied outside parliament here Monday to protest against rising prices of food staples, witnesses said.
Louise Williams Jakarta and Jenny Grant in Dili – A new offer from Indonesia to grant East Timor special status and release the jailed resistance leader Xanana Gusmao would provide only a transitional solution, East Timorese leaders warned yesterday.
On May 1, General Wiranto, commander of the armed forces and Defense Minister, set up a Fact-Finding Team to look into the disappearances, after strong domestic and international pressure to address the issue. As of June, six of the resurfaced activists had given testimony to the military police, but they say thus far, there has been no follow-up.
Malang – The Armed Forces Socio-political Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said that political and elite circles embroiled in protracted polemics, should feel ashamed before the common people.
Allan Nairn – As the Suharto dictatorship collapsed, suddenly, on May 21, the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), scrambled to safeguard their police state. Rather than have Suharto quit as a scheduled mass protest surged through the streets, the ABRI commander, General Wiranto, threatened the students with a "Tiananmen," and then persuaded Suharto to resign quietly.
June 21, 1998
Blitar – Thousands of people were jostling at the front yard of the late Mrs S Wardojo, the older sister of Bung Karno with the same mother, at Jl Sultan Agung No. 53 Kodya Blitar, Saturday evening (20/6).
June 20, 1998
Jenny Grant, Dili – Tension rose in the East Timorese capital of Dili yesterday as students entered their third day of protests against Indonesian rule. Two thousand students marched from the University of East Timor to the parliament building where they met legislature officers and demanded a referendum.
Jakarta – Indonesia's president today offered to release imprisoned East Timor rebel leader Jose Xanana Gusmao in return for world recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over the disputed territory.
June 19, 1998
After failing yesterday to meet members of the Armed Forces parliamentary fraction, the families of five of the "disappeared" visited the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jakarta to seek help. [Altogether nine people are still missing, some since May last year.]
Jakarta – Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) executives aligned to Megawati Soekarnoputri have denied giving the order for a series of "takeovers" of party offices in several cities.
Jakarta – A port workers' strike entered its fourth day yesterday in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city and gateway to East Java province, causing losses of millions of rupiah, according to port officials.
Surabaya – The [truth about the] killing of a worker activist, Marsinah, in 1993 is to be revealed.