At least one protester was killed, more than 100 were injured and 57 were arrested when Indonesian security forces attacked an 800-strong protest in South Sumatra on July 20. The detainees were beaten in jail.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
July 26, 2000
Jakarta – A trial witness has implicated Indonesia's defence ministry in a forgery ring which churned out 2.1 million dollars worth of fake local currency notes, a report said Wednesday.
James Balowski – Four years ago on July 27, television images of the Indonesian military bashing and kicking helpless protesters exposed the world to the brutality of the Suharto dictatorship. The Australian government's and the Jakarta lobby's carefully cultivated image of the regime was shattered.
BK & LH/BI & LM, Jakarta – Hundreds of students gathered together in the Indonesian Youth Struggle Front (FPPI) have staged protests today in Yogyakarta and Jakarta against the Golkar party.
Pip Hinman – A group of unions has demanded President Abdurrahman Wahid disallow a new labour rights bill, which was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives on July 10 but needs the president's approval to become law.
Max Lane – On July 20, huge banners, which dwarfed the activists who daringly scaled the walls of Indonesia's parliament building in Jakarta to hang them, announced the demands of the People's Democratic Party (PRD).
A Andri/FW & LM, Jakarta – For the umpteenth time, hundreds of representatives of the Batak Toba tribe went to the North Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council demanding the closure of PT. Indorayon Utama Wednesday.
July 25, 2000
Mark Riley, New York – A United Nations Security Council member has rejected claims by the Indonesian President, Mr Abdurrahman Wahid, that the council is pressing for a peacekeeping mission to the Maluku islands.
Jakarta – Indonesia's parliament has approved income tax cuts that halve the burden on low income earners, as well as a radical new amendment that will provide regional administrations with 20 percent of income tax receipts, reports said Tuesday.
Dharmastuti/SWA & LM, Jakarta – The thick palls of smoke choking North Sumatra and Riau Provinces has compelled the Ministry of Forestry and Plantations to announce that it plans to sanction as many as 12 business people.
Jakarta – An Indonesian mob rounded up three men and beat them to death after accusing one of them of murdering his wife with black magic. Kompas newspaper reported that the woman died earlier this month in Kedungsari village on the island of Sumatra.
Tangerang – Thousands of members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) burned and destroyed 82 kiosks on the Tahang riverbank in Salembaran Jati village of Kosambi district here on Monday, accusing the owners of running vice activities on their premises.
Banda Aceh – The government has allocated Rp 1.4 trillion (US$155 million) to finance the implementation of the Joint Understanding on Humanitarian Pause in Aceh, Acting Governor Ramli Ridwan said on Monday. "The fund would be disbursed in August," Ramli said.
July 24, 2000
Mark Dodd, Dili – An Indonesian judicial team in East Timor to investigate violence by Jakarta's military and its local allies last year faced a hostile reception at the weekend.
East Timor – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees announced Friday that it has withdrawn its personnel from the Betun refugee camp in Indonesian West Timor. UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told media in Geneva that the decision followed violent incidents carried out by armed militias opposed to the repatriation of East Timorese refugees.
Jakarta – Indonesian prosecutors plan to bring four of the country's most controversial figures to court next month, including former president Suharto, in a bid to dispel doubts over the government's reform agenda.
D. Sangga Buana/FW & AH, Jakarta – Nearly 1500 laborers staged a rally at the Jakarta Special Province Local Administration Office today to demand the increase in minimum regional wages, previously promised by Jakarta Governor, Sutiyoso.
The Papuan People's Congress held in Jayapura, Irian Jaya, from May 29 to June 4 declared that the Irianese want to separate from Indonesia. Agus Alue Alua, the congress chairman and deputy secretary of the Papuan Presidium formed to follow up the congress, shares developments with The Jakarta Post's correspondent Neles Tebay.
Bagus Kurniawan/BI & LM, Jakarta – Approximately 80 students from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta under the auspices of Student's Solidarity for Pagilaran Peasants (SMUPP) have staged a protest against their own University.
Bagus Kurniawan/BI & LM, Yogyakarta – A spokesman for PT Pagilaran, embroiled in a land dispute with the University of Gadjah Mada and local peasants, has denied illegally seizing the peasant's land, stating that the peasants have illegally occupied the company's land and damaged crops.
Jose Ramos-Horta, Bangkok – Who is behind the wave of sectarian violence in Ambon and other parts of the Moluccan Islands that has cost hundreds of lives in the past 18 months? Who is responsible for the upsurge in separatist sentiment in Aceh and Irian Jaya, two of the richest provinces of Indonesia?
Jakarta – Indonesian security forces seized more than 1,000 sticks of explosives from an inter-island ferry as it arrived in the riot-torn North Maluku island of Ternate. The explosives were found in the state-owned KM Ciremai ferry which arrived from Bitung in north Sulawesi on Saturday, said the Antara news agency.
Jakarta – Call it hubris, denial or sheer pragmatism. But among President Abdurrahman Wahid's inner circles, the burning question of the moment is not how long he can survive, but if he will sack Cabinet Secretary Marsilam Simanjuntak.
Jakarta – A respected legal aid activist says the government must guarantee the security of witnesses who are scheduled to testify later this year on atrocities conducted by pro-Jakarta militias and the Indonesian Defense Forces in East Timor last year.
Damian Milverton, Washington – The international effort to repair the devastation in East Timor is meeting with some success but at the same time is exposing many of the pitfalls in development economics.
July 23, 2000
On July 20, 800 farm workers from villages in South Sumatra demonstrated outside the District Administration Offices in the area of Muara Enim, near Palembang in South Sumatra.
July 22, 2000
Jakarta – The Indonesian press yesterday slammed President Abdurrahman Wahid's refusal to explain to parliament his decision to fire two ministers, and warned that he was courting a political disaster of his own making.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Some of those politicians who angrily rebuked President Abdurrahman Wahid in parliament this week represent Golkar, the party that for years propped up the corrupt and brutal Soeharto dictatorship.
Jakarta – Indonesia's Golkar party said it would be ready to be in the opposition and hinted that there would be a shake-up of its executive board ahead of the next general election in 2004.
Tokyo – President Abdurrahman Wahid needs to reassert control over his fractured government if the country is to address problems like the slide in the currency and violent protests, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said here.
Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Claims by the Indonesian authorities about serious efforts being made to stem plantation fires in Sumatra are being challenged by environmentalists who say that legal action is doomed to fail.
Vaudine England and Agencies in Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid, going some way to ease political tensions, apologised to Parliament yesterday for a confrontation that stems from his refusal to explain why he sacked two ministers earlier this year.
Jakarta – Minister of Mines and Energy Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has blamed the involvement of an "international movement" on growing protests against Indonesian mining operations.
Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nations mission in East Timor yesterday said it had no plans to arrest notorious pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres, who is implicated in human rights abuses committed about the time of last year's independence vote.
July 21, 2000
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday refused to answer questions from angry MPs about his sacking of two ministers, setting the stage for a confrontation likely to plunge the country into prolonged political turmoil.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Indonesian political confidence took a dive along with the rupiah yesterday as President Abdurrahman Wahid defied demands to explain his sacking of two ministers amid demonstrations and flag-burnings on the road outside Parliament.
Jakarta – European observers will be allowed to travel to the strife-torn Maluku islands in three months' time, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said in interview Friday.
Jakarta – State prosecutors investigating corruption charges against ex-President Suharto on Friday impounded an office building owned by charitable foundations linked to the former dictator. "The seizure of this building will prove that we are serious in dealing with the Suharto case," prosecutor Umbu Lagelozara said.
D. Sangga Buwana/BI & LM, Jakarta – A new initiative to send Indonesian Defense Force personnel to Australia for training in defense management was announced today by the Indonesian Defense Minister, Juwono Sudarsono. The Australian Labor Party, currently in opposition, has initiated the education program.
Jakarta – Dense haze, from forest and brush fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, forced the temporary closure of its most important airport yesterday, officials said.
Poor visibility of less than 700 metres at Medan city's Polonia airport forced the suspension of all flights for four hours early in the day, an airport official said.
Alex Kirby – A report by the World Resources Institute says the fires are symptomatic of "a far greater disaster – the systematic plunder and destruction of south-east Asia's greatest rainforests over the past three decades."
Jakarta – A relative of former Indonesian President Suharto who was arrested on drugs charges last month has been sent to a prison pending trial, reports said yesterday.
July 20, 2000
Jakarta – PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) finally reached an agreement with its striking workers on Wednesday that allowed for an immediate resumption of production in East Kalimantan.
Banda Aceh – Almost all of the approximately 20,000 refugees who sought shelter at Point-A area of the Exxon-Oil airport compound in Tanah Luas district of North Aceh were gone on Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses said security forces cajoled refugees to return by surrounding the area and firing warning shots into the air the night before.
Jakarta – At least 547 East Timorese refugees sheltering in squalid camps throughout Indonesian-controlled West Timor have died in the past nine months, the province's governor said Wednesday.
Justice John Dowd, Sydney – A royal commission is needed into why the Whitlam Government turned a blind eye to the Balibo killings, writes Justice John Dowd.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – Christian militias have formed in the North Maluku island of Halmahera, intent on wreaking vengeance against Muslim fighters, reports from the troubled area have confirmed.
Jakarta – Hundreds of activists gathered a mere 500 metres from the parliament grounds today protested while the Golkar Party held the second day of it's annual leader's meeting.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid is due to answer questions from a fractious Parliament today in what will mark the beginning of formal moves against him by a body he once dubbed a "kindergarten".
Jakarta – A series of corruption charges have been brought to light within the last two months alone, but they only add to the numerous graft cases yet to be processed in the Indonesian legal system, much less resolved in court.