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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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November 6, 2000

Detik - November 6, 2000

A Dipta Anindita/GB, Jakarta – Around 500 protesters from 13 urban communities in Jakarta staged a rowdy demonstration at the Provincial Legislative Council on Monday. They claimed their land had been illegally seized by police backed by hired thugs to make way for a new railway line.

Detik - November 6, 2000

Budi Sugiharto/Hendra & GB, Surabaya – Around 250 demonstrators from the Solidarity Front for PT Mepoly Labourers staged a demonstration at the East Java Legislative Council (DPRD). They accused the company of hiring the thugs who threatened them and stabbed a colleague at a demonstration at the factory on November 1.

Detik - November 6, 2000

Chaidir Anwar Tanjung/Hendra & PT, Pekanbaru – Around 500 transmigrants of the Tapung village, Tapung Sub-district, regent of Kampar, South Sumatra, have staged a demonstration in front of the governor of Riau's office. The protestors, who are palm oil farmers, are demanding the governor approach the government, and increase the price of palm oil stems.

November 5, 2000

Agence France Presse - November 5, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Banda Aceh – The provincial parliament in Indonesia's troubled province of Aceh has elected a new governor as violence between government forces and separatist rebels killed at least seven people, reports and police said Sunday.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 5, 2000

Brian Toohey – Indonesia is playing an ugly and dangerous game. Once again, Australian policy makers are only encouraging even worse behaviour further down the track by falling over themselves to make excuses for the Indonesians.

Washington Post - November 5, 2000

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Jakarta – When he assumed office in October 1999 as Indonesia's first democratically elected president in four decades, Abdurrahman Wahid sought to show the country's once-mighty military who was boss. He appointed the first civilian defense minister. He dismissed a general implicated in the destruction of East Timor.

Agence France Presse - November 5, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Three members of the pro-independence civilian guard in Indonesia's troubled Irian Jaya province have been shot dead and at least 18 other people injured, including a policeman, a report and residents said Sunday.

Agence France Presse - November 5, 2000

Sydney – Australia's strained ties with Jakarta continued to be hampered by Indonesian politicians exploiting the troubled relationship for domestic political advantage, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Sunday. He said some parlimentarians seemed determined to criticise Canberra no matter what efforts were made to improve the situation.

Agence France Presse - November 5, 2000

Yogyakarta – Yulianti Safitri, 19, moved from one street to another across Sumatra and Java for six years until she ended up in this Indonesian royal city.

November 4, 2000

Straits Times - November 4, 2000

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Anti-American groups yesterday threatened to take 20,000 demonstrators to the streets of the central Javanese town of Solo today, calling for an end to US intervention.

Straits Times - November 4, 2000

Robert Go, Jakarta – Presidential spokesman Wimar Witoelar said that Indonesians are being unrealistic if they expect Mr Abdurrahman Wahid alone to lift the country out of the political and economic crises.

Straits Times - November 4, 2000

Robert Go, Jakarta – Concern is growing in Jakarta that President Abdurrahman Wahid's supporters may take matters into their own hands and act against the leader's detractors, including top legislative assembly speaker Dr Amien Rais.

Detik - November 4, 2000

Rayhan Anas Lubis/GB, Banda Aceh – The offices of the Aceh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA) in Banda Aceh, capital of Indonesias violence-ridden northern-most province, were raided over night by members of the police Mobile Brigade.

Indonesian Observer - November 4, 2000

Jakarta – Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra confirmed yesterday that the government intends to scrap the visa-free facility given to visitors from 49 countries, including Australia.

Reuters - November 4, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian legislators asked President Abdurrahman Wahid formally yesterday to seek the withdrawal of the tough-talking US Ambassador to Jakarta, Mr Robert Gelbard, the official Antara news agency reported.

Agence France Presse - November 4, 2000

Jakarta – The fugitive son of former Indonesian president Suharto will likely meet prosecutors on Monday, his lawyers said Saturday as prison officials said his co-accused, Ricardo Gelael, had given himself up and begun serving his 18-month jail term late on Friday.

November 3, 2000

Agence France Presse - November 3, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands but it could lose about 2,000 of them within 100 years if global warming is not halted, an environmentalist has warned.

Asia Pulse - November 3, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia losses US$1.5 billion in revenues due to poaching of fish every year, according to Maritime and Fisheries Minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 3, 2000

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Jakarta – The US Ambassador to Indonesia, who stands accused by several MPs and officials of meddling in the country's internal affairs, yesterday claimed he was being targeted and smeared by opponents of President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Jakarta Post - November 3, 2000

Jakarta – Local authorities vowed on Thursday to take stern measures against the proindependence Papuan taskforce who have commandeered a government-owned provincial art building as their headquarters.

November 2, 2000

Detik - November 2, 2000

Budi Sugiharto/BI & GB, Jakarta – Following yesterday's demonstration by taxi drivers from Surabaya Taxi, around 200 Srikandi taxi drivers went on strike and demonstrated at the Surabaya Provincial Legislative Council Thursday over a new fee system set to be introduced today. Fees have been increased from Rp 77,000 (US$7.50) per day to Rp 111,000 (US$13) per day.

South China Morning Post - November 2, 2000

Vaudine England – A week after vicious ethnic clashes broke out in Pontianak, the capital of Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, thousands of displaced Madurese are still too scared to leave seven refugee camps despite the lack of medical care and a shortage of water.

Jakarta Post - November 2, 2000

Jakarta – National Police spokesman Sr. Supt. Timbul Sianturi said on Wednesday that the police would soon question more former top government and civilian figures over the July 27, 1996 incident.

"Police will soon question those who attended a meeting prior to the July27, 1996 incident," Timbul told reporters at National Police Headquarters.

South China Morning Post - November 2, 2000

Kerry-Anne Walsh, Canberra – An investigation has been launched into allegations that Australian soldiers on duty in East Timor brutalised and tortured captured pro-Indonesian militia members.

South China Morning Post - November 2, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Weeks of calls for President Abdurrahman Wahid to resign have resulted in affirmation of support from his Vice-President and signs that his staunchest critic, Amien Rais, is on a losing streak.

Agence France Presse - November 2, 2000 (abridged)

Banda Aceh – Three policemen and a civilian were killed as separatist rebels and Indonesian government forces clashed in the restive province of Aceh, police said Thursday.

November 1, 2000

Green Left Weekly - November 1, 2000

Max Lane – On August 22, hundreds of members of the Riau Farmers Union demonstrated outside the Indonesian People's Bank in Pekanbaru demanding rural assistance loans so that they could buy seeds for the next harvest season.

Green Left Weekly - November 1, 2000

Indonesia: An Eyewitness Account By Michael Maher Viking, Penguin Books 274pp. $30

Review by Pip Hinman – "Suharto had promised to build foundations that would secure Indonesia's future. Instead, he bequeathed his people a house of cards".

Detik - November 1, 2000

NL& BS/Fitri & KR, Jakarta – Thousands of employees from 60 branches of the giant Hero supermarket chain across Java and Bali went on strike and rallied causing many stores across Jakarta to close to the public, Wednesday. The protesters poured into the Hero headquarters on Jl Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta, and many others also rallied at their respective Hero branches.

Agence France Presse - November 1, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – Tension between Indonesia's two main Muslim organizations heightened Wednesday with thousands of supporters of President Abdurrahman Wahid threatening their rivals with violence if its chairman seeks to unseat the president in mid-term.

Agence France Presse - November 1, 2000 (abridged)

Jakarta – A pro-independence leader Wednesday ordered his supporters in Indonesia's easternmost province of Irian Jaya to ignore a police order to vacate a building and lower a separatist flag flown there, a report said.

Green Left Weekly - November 1, 2000

Protesting community members in East Kalimantan were violently attacked by the Indonesian Mobile Police Brigade (BRIMOB) on October 8. Seven protesters were shot, several were seriously wounded, and two were declared missing. The violence ended a peaceful, 14-day blockade of UNOCAL's Tanjung Santan oil refinery.

Indonesian Observer - November 1, 2000

Jakarta – Mines and Energy Minister, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, yesterday said that despite the grant of regional autonomy, oil and gas industry operations will still be controlled by the central government, although other aspects of the mining sector may be handed over to the regions.

Green Left Weekly - November 1, 2000

East Timorese solidarity activists in Australia have condemned federal government attempts to maintain control of large parts of East Timor's oil-rich seabeds, accusing it of being "still greedy for blood money".

October 31, 2000

Agence France Presse - October 31, 2000

Jakarta – The Indonesian rupiah plunged to its lowest level of the year Tuesday, prompting the government to promise further central bank intervention this week to prop up the ailing currency.

The rupiah touched a 10-month intra-day low of 9,500 to the dollar before staging a slight technical rebound to 9,350-9,380 by late afternoon. It closed Monday at 9,385-9,425.

South China Morning Post - October 31, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Indonesia's dangerous flirtation with anti-Americanism is gathering pace in the wake of fresh threats to American tourists and the decision by the US Embassy in Jakarta to stay closed until at least tomorrow.

New York Times - October 31, 2000

Calvin Sims, Jakarta – Relations between the United States and Indonesia have deteriorated rapidly after a series of high-profile disputes between the American ambassador and officials and lawmakers, who have accused the US of meddling.

October 30, 2000

Agence France Presse - October 30, 2000

Jakarta – An Indonesian parliamentary committee investigating financial scandals allegedly linked to President Abdurrahman Wahid was accused by a sacked member on Monday of working to bring down the embattled president, reports said.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 30, 2000

Hamish Mcdonald, Tarawa, Kiribati – Pacific nations – including Australia – have given secessionists in Indonesia's West Papua province an important win with a formal statement of concern about bloodshed in the territory.

South China Morning Post - October 30, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Months after an accord was signed between Aceh's separatist rebels and the Indonesian Government, the brutal war in the province has deepened.

South China Morning Post - October 30, 2000

Vaudine England – Attacks by men in Muslim garb wielding staves inside Jakarta nightclubs and bars – and last week at City Hall – are unlikely to happen again, according to a senior policeman.

Jakarta Post - October 30, 2000

Jakarta – State-owned insurance company PT Jamsostek called on labor unions to help promote the 1992 law on social security programs for workers, saying the way the government enforces the law is not effective enough.

Agence France Presse - October 30, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Banda Aceh – At least seven bodies were found, one of them of a policeman, in the separatist-plagued Indonesian province of Aceh, police and residents said Monday.

October 29, 2000

Detik - October 29, 2000

Nurul Hidayati/BI, Jakarta – Despite the political instability and the ongoing conflicts that threatened the integrity of Indonesia, the Youth's Pledge taken by inspiring youths during the Dutch colonization in 28th October 1928, still play a major role as an adherent in holding the country intact.

October 28, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - October 28, 2000

More than 250,000 Australians face paying up to $100 for a tourist visa to travel to Indonesia as relations between the countries take a new dip.

South China Morning Post - October 28, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Beheadings and chopping attacks between indigenous Malays and migrant Madurese in the West Kalimantan city of Pontianak have left at least seven dead, prompting a curfew and shoot-to-kill orders for hundreds of police rushed in by Jakarta.

Agence France Presse - October 28, 2000

Jakarta – A tense calm descended on the riot-torn city of Pontianak on Borneo island Saturday after three days of bloody ethnic clashes that killed at least 10 people, reports and the military said.

South China Morning Post - October 28, 2000

Chris McCall, Merauke – West Papuans will not let the separatist flag be brought down in the south even if their leaders agree, their regional chief says.

Staits Times - October 28, 2000

Robert Go, Jakarta – Already testy ties between Washington and Jakarta could suffer further strain following revelations yesterday of a naval incident in the waters around Maluku Islands last week involving two Indonesian warships and an American destroyer.

Straits Times - October 28, 2000

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – The latest outbreak of ethnic violence which erupted this week in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, may spin out of control as police struggle to control ethnic-Malay gangs who yesterday beheaded several Madurese youths and continued to roam the streets.