Reuters in Jakarta – Popular Indonesian Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri will skip another cabinet meeting on Thursday in her latest snub to the besieged president.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
June 21, 2001
Jakarta – Irian Jaya leaders renounced on Wednesday the unenthusiastic response by legislators and government officials to a draft bill on special autonomy for the province, arguing that the bill was drawn up within the context of the unitary state.
Banda Aceh – At least 12 people have been murdered or found dead over recent days in Indonesia Aceh province amid violence pitting separatist rebels against government forces, aid workers and residents said Thursday.
Dean Yates, Jakarta – Indonesia's military said on Thursday it saw little sign of a political compromise that might save President Abdurrahman Wahid's floundering rule and warned it would not tolerate any violence linked to his fate.
Agencies in Jakarta – The army chief has weighed into a politicised controversy over what constitutes insubordination in the forces, saying soldiers have the right to disobey unlawful orders. "In certain cases, disobeying an order is justified," said General Endriartono Sutarto in an article published yesterday.
The United States Senate approved Thursday a resolution condemning the "disproportionate" sentences an Indonesian court recently applied to the self-confessed killers of three UN aid workers.
G. K. Goh, Jakarta – Indonesian police fired teargas to disperse a total of 500 student protesters in two separate locations in Jakarta on Thursday in the latest demonstrations over a hefty fuel price hike. The increase at the weekend, by an average 30 percent, has triggered several protests in major cities across the troubled archipelago.
June 20, 2001
Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have given in to demands for transport fare increases as thousands of commuters were left stranded because of a strike by public minivan drivers.
While not nationally-organised, minivan drivers in cities across the country have held demonstrations to protest against the government's decision to increase the price of fuel by 30 per cent.
Kerryn Williams, Jakarta – "Since the police first arrived there was an increasing [number] of [militia] members and we predicted that after the police left, they would attack", said Yahgun, a member of the People's Democratic Party and one of the Indonesian participants in the Asia-Pacific People's Solidarity Conference raided by police on June 8. He was right.
Peter Boyle – At 6pm on Saturday June 9, 24 hours after the detained foreign participants at the Asia Pacific People's Solidarity Conference were first brought to Jakarta's central police HQ, the remaining 30 foreign detainees were allowed to leave. However, our passports were kept by the police and we were instructed to report back to the police HQ at 10am the following Monday.
The secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Timor (PST) Avelinho Coelho said Tuesday if the party gets majority seats in the 30 August election it will make Tetun the national language of the country.
Jakarta – Central Jakarta Police arrested eight people on Tuesday, following a clash between police and protesting students outside the campuses of the Indonesian Persada University (UPI) and YAI accounting school on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta.
The raid by police on the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference in Jakarta on June 8, the brutal militia attack which followed it and the detention of 32 foreign participants has revealed two disturbing returns to the past.
Max Lane, Singapore – The police raid on the Asia-Pacific Peoples Solidarity Conference on June 8 was just one more in a string of actions taken by the Indonesian police, often working hand in glove with militia gangs, to push back the democratic space won by the student-led mass movement which forced the resignation of former dictator Suharto in May, 1998.
Pip Hinman – For one and a half days, from the morning of June 7, the Asia Pacific People's Solidarity Conference, held a holiday resort outside Jakarta, had been proceeding relatively smoothly.
Reuters in Jakarta – Indonesia's biggest political party has backed away from efforts to bring forward an impeachment hearing against embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid, local media reported on Wednesday.
G. K. Goh, Jakarta – Fears of social unrest in Indonesia continued to chip away at consumer confidence in May, state brokerage Danareksa said its latest survey showed on Wednesday. Sentiment about future job prospects fell to its lowest since it started surveys in October 1999, the company said.
Joanne Collins, Jakarta – The IMF said on Wednesday it was optimistic Indonesia's willingness to revise controversial central bank law amendments would end a six-month deadlock on a vital $5 billion loan programme.
Sue Boland – Once the news broke in Australia about the police and militia attack on the Asia Pacific People's Solidarity conference in Indonesia on June 8 and the detention of conference participants, friends and relatives of the detainees in Australia moved into action to publicise what had happened.
Viv Miley & Susan Price – Progressive forces from around the world spoke out and took action as soon as news of the police and militia raid on the international solidarity conference spread.
In Canada, snap protests were organised across the country in solidarity, according to Paul Kellogg, who was one of those detained in Jakarta.
Ahmed Shawki, Columbia, South Carolina – Top US labour leaders gathered for a workers' rights rally here responded immediately to the police crackdown on the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference in Jakarta.
An international outpouring of support came soon after from other labour leaders, human rights activists, academics and others.
Susan Price & Viv Miley – One of those detained by authorities after the June 8 raid on the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference in Jakarta was Auckland city councillor Maire Leadbeater – prompting a statement from New Zealand foreign minister Phil Goff following her release seeking a formal explanation from the Indonesian government for the police action.
Sean Healy – The only one of the 32 foreign nationals detained after the June 8 raid on the Jakarta solidarity conference to be singled out for official deportation from Indonesia was Farooq Tariq, the general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan.
Makassar, South Sulawesi – A student rally in Makassar welcomed the latest Indonesian Military (TNI) reshuffle on Tuesday, with some 100 Maluku students studying in the South Sulawesi capital demanding that outgoing Pattimura Military Commander, Brig. Gen. I Made Yasa, be tried for human rights violations.
Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Wednesday said blame for past and present human rights abuses by the country's police and military should be attributed to rogue elements, and not to the institutions.
Jakarta – Indonesian police have named as fugitive suspects the heads of two companies involved in a multi-million-dollar share sale dispute with Canadian-based insurance company Manulife, a Manulife lawyer said Wednesday.
June 19, 2001
Brian Robins – From being only rank hopefuls among offshore gasfields, Timor Sea projects backed by Phillips Petroleum and Woodside are racing off the starting blocks. Both are pushing into the east coast gas market, to emerge as replacements for the Cooper Basin as its reserves decline this decade.
Tomi Soetjipto, Jakarta – A powerful bomb exploded at a boarding-house in the Indonesian capital Jakarta around dawn on Tuesday, seriously wounding five people, and police later found several unexploded devices in the building.
An angry mob of street vendors stoned UN police and administrative personnel at a Dili market Tuesday, injuring three people and damaging three vehicles.
Rod McGuirk, Darwin – The HIV virus had taken hold in East Timor and spread into Australia, a Dili-based doctor said today. As many as 15 foreign workers, mostly Africans, evacuated from East Timor for treatment at the Royal Darwin Hospital, have tested positive to HIV, Dr Dan Murphy said.
Vaudine England, Jakarta – A military tribunal yesterday charged nine police officers with the 1998 murder of anti-government student protesters, an event which triggered widespread riots that contributed to the fall of former president Suharto.
Lincoln Wright – A leading United States congressman, who is a major supporter of the alliance with Australia, has called for America to renew its military ties with Indonesia's navy, air force and marines, but not its army.
Banda Aceh – The cycle of violence in Aceh seems unending as witnesses and officials reported the death on Monday of at least another eight people in various locations in the province.
Jakarta – City Police arrested on Monday three activists of the umbrella student group City Forum (Forkot) for allegedly provoking public transportation drivers to go on strike following the fuel price hike. The three students are Mixil, Arif Wardoyo and Miftahudin.
Achmad Sukarsono, Jakarta – Indonesian police fired warning shots and tear gas at more than 700 students protesting over national fuel price hikes in Jakarta on Monday as bus drivers went on strike in eight cities across the country.
June 18, 2001
Lindsay Murdoch – Antonio da Silva rarely smiles. His left ear has been cut off, his fingers broken and he has seen some of his militia friends killed during his fight to keep East Timor part of Indonesia.
June 17, 2001
G.K. Goh, Banda Aceh – At least 18 people have been killed in violence pitting separatist rebels against government forces in the oil and gas-rich province of Aceh, the Indonesian military and residents said Sunday.
MMI Ahyani/HD, Bandung – Five members of Democratic People's Party (PRD) for West Java were arrested by police following unrest in Bandung last 13 June. Those PRD's members were arrested at Kebun Kelapa station Bandung and at Cicadas at noon on Sunday.
[Derwin Pereira looks at how these cukongs are adapting to the new political environment and who are next in line to take their place.]
June 16, 2001
Mark Dodd – Negotiations between Australia and East Timor to conclude a new agreement on revenue sharing from the oil- and gas-rich Timor Sea have run into last-minute problems, a senior East Timorese official said yesterday.
Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – The Bush Administration has decided to restore tentative military contact with Indonesia at a time that Australia is stepping up pressure on Jakarta to punish those responsible for atrocities in East Timor.
Jakarta – Indonesian officials and rebel leaders from Aceh province will resume peace talks in Geneva next month in yet another bid to resolve a bloody separatist conflict that has raged for decades, local media reported on Saturday.
Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – The Indonesian government yesterday temporarily revoked a controversial labour decree which cuts long-service payments, in a bid to calm violent street protests carried out by angry workers over the last three days.
Jakarta – Eleven military personnel will be tried in a military tribunal on Monday for their alleged role in the shooting of Trisakti students, a military spokesman revealed on Thursday.
June 15, 2001
Bandung – A new clash between police and protesting workers erupted here on Thursday, injuring at least nine people and damaging dozens of stores, buildings, two hotels and many vehicles.
Banda Aceh – Indonesian military (TNI) troops claimed to have raided two main bases of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebel group in the village of Jiemjiem, Bandar Baru district, Pidie regency on Wednesday.
Canberra – Economic prospects for East Timor remained low in the medium term, the World Bank said ahead of a two-day meeting of donors to the emerging nation that began in Canberra on Thursday.
Mark Dodd – East Timor is set to get up to 90 per cent of Timor Sea oil and gas revenue in a move Australia hopes will ensure the new nation does not become dependent on foreign aid.
The Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, said yesterday that Australia wanted to avoid mistakes made in the early years of Papua New Guinea's independence, when Australia had to prop up its Budget.
Karen Polglaze, Canberra – International donors today signed-off on East Timor's 2001-02 budget, the blueprint that will take the new country through elections to independence.
The Government delayed a controversial fuel price rise in the face of more unrest yesterday as President Abdurrahman Wahid prepared to leave his troubled country on yet another overseas trip.