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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 23, 1997

Republika - April 23, 1997 (Abridged, from Tapol)

Angered by the failure of their employers to pay the increased minimum wage, at least 13,000 workers of the Hardaya Aneka Shoes Industry, Tangerang, who manufacture Nike footwear, marched ten kms to the local assembly building in Tangerang.

They started the march at 7 am and formed a line three kms long, bringing traffic to a complete halt

ASIET - April 23, 1997

Press reports have stated that the Surabaya court has handed down a sentence of six years for Dita Sari, President, Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggles (PPBI) and four years for Coen Husein Pontoh, from the National Peasants Union (STN).

The prosecution had demanded nine years.

Parool - April 23, 1997

Henk Bouwmans (Original in Dutch, translation by TAPOL), The Hague – The Dutch Parliament is furious about a letter from the Indonesian embassy about the East Timorese human rights activist and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta. In the letter Ramos Horta is accused of acting purely for personal ambitions by setting up a government in exile.

Chicago Tribune - April 23, 1997

Uli Schmetzer, Karawang – President Suharto has controlled this sprawling island archipelago for 30 years with a military fist tucked into the silky glove of progress.

Suharto's formula has been simple and effective: Give the people more goods, visions of a gilded future and information that promotes nationalism and glorifies the regime.

Media Indonesia - 23 April, 1997

Jakarta – A strike wave since yesterday is continuing in Tangerang and Jakarta. The economic wheels of Tangerang city, Tuesday morning, were suddenly paralyzed.

Banks and offices were closed for three hours because 10,000 workers from the shoe factory PT Hasi held a rally from their place of work to the local parliament, around seven kilometers away.

April 22, 1997

SiaR - April 22, 1997

Jakarta – A free speech action was held by PRD supporters in the grounds of the Central Jakarta State Court, Monday (21/4). Scores of PRD supporters who had early packed the court room of the accused Budiman Sudjatmiko unfurled red and white banners reading "Democracy or Death".

Agence France Presse - April 22, 1997 (Abridged, from Tapol)

A court in East Java Tuesday handed down six and four year jail sentences for two pro-democracy activists accused of subversion, their lawyer said.

The court handed the sentences to Dita Indah Sari and Coen Pontoh for the PRD for inciting labour riots (sic) in the province.

South China Morning Post - April 22, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – An activist on trial for the capital crime of subversion yesterday lambasted President Suharto, the Government and court system and challenged Indonesians to boycott next month's elections.

Agence France Presse - April 22, 1997

Jakarta – Supporters of Indonesia's popular ousted politician Megawati Sukarnoputri disrupted a rally held by a rival faction of her opposition party, reports said Tuesday.

Reuters - April 22, 1997

Jakarta – Fifteen East Timorese will face trial in the territory this week for their alleged involvement in the killing of a soldier on Christmas eve, Indonesia's official Antara news agency reported on Tuesday.

South China Morning Post - April 22, 1997

Fresh violence between supporters of rival political parties erupted in four towns in Java province at the weekend injuring at least 20 people.

In Solo, United Development Party (PPP) supporters clashed with security officials on Saturday, leaving at least 20 people injured.

April 21, 1997

South China Morning Post - April 21, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Two of the nation's largest Christian organisations have made statements backing the right of their congregations to vote freely in the May 29 general elections.

April 20, 1997

New York Times - April 20, 1997

Seth Mydans, Jakarta – Parliamentary elections will not be held in Indonesia until the end of May, but the governing party has already announced its winning total: 70.02 percent of the vote.

Tapol - April 20, 1997

As members of the PRD, we have decided no longer to attend the court sessions that will decide our fate.

April 19, 1997

Kompas - April 19, 1997 (from Tapol)

Speaking to a thousand Golkar activists in Padang, West Sumatra, the party chairman, Harmoko (who is also Information Minister) said that anyone who calls on members of the public to boycott the elections is acting unconstitutionally. He called on GOLKAR members to report people making such calls to the security authorities so that measures can be taken against them.

April 18, 1997

Buisiness Times - April 18, 1997

S N Vasuki – Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri yesterday issued a manifesto, ahead of next month's parliamentary elections, warning that a "restoration of democracy" was the only solution to the country's economic and political problems.

Straits Times - April 18, 1997

Jakarta – Hit by poor sales, Indonesia's national distributor has offered to sell "Timor" cars to government officials in various provinces, it was reported yesterday.

April 17, 1997

East Timor Human Rights Centre - 17 April, 1997

The East Timor Human Rights Centre still holds grave fears for the safety of Ildefonso de Deus dos Santos (also known as "Maudino"), a 17 year old student who disappeared on 14 July in Gleno in the Ermera district of East Timor. Maudino disappeared during house to house raids conducted by Indonesian soldiers following a fire at the Gleno market.

ASIET - April 17, 1997

Between 10000 and 15000 PDI supporters massed on the streets of Jakarta on April 15 demanding that the elected leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), Megawati Sukarnoputri, be allowed to participate in the May 29 general elections.

April 16, 1997

Straits Times - April 16. 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – Supporters of ousted opposition leader Megawati Soekarnoputri yesterday broke down the gates leading to Parliament House as they faced police in a five-hour stand-off.

Republika - April 16, 1997 (from Tapol)

For the second day running, 350 workers of PT Farmindo, a wood processing company, stopped work. The company is situated in Tangerang, part of the industrial belt of Jakarta. On the second day the workers showed their anger and started to attack some of the factory buildings.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 16, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Tens of thousands of Muslim migrant workers will be repatriated from West Kalimantan following months of ethnic clashes, in a blow to Indonesia's ambitious program of moving millions of people away from the overpopulated centre and onto its remote outlying islands.

Media Indonesia (abridged) - April 16, 1997

Some five thousand pro-Megawati members of the PDI filled the street in front of the DPR/MPR building on Tuesday, 15 April, causing extensive traffic jams.

April 15, 1997

Bisnis Indonesia - April 15, 1997

Tangerang – Around 4,000 workers from four factories in Tangerang yesterday held a strike demanding they be given the new minimum regional wage (UMR) and well as increases in other conditions.

Antara - April 15, 1997

Jakarta – Sixty people have been interrogated by police inconnection with the destruction of a building housing the office ofthe South Jakarta sub-chapter of the Indonesian Democracy Party (PDI) here Sunday, police said.

Pikiran Rakyat - April 15, 1997 (Abridged from Tapol)

Bandung – Thousands of workers have gone on strike in the industrial belts of Purwakarta and Tangerang, demanding that their employers immediately start paying them the new minimum wage of Rp 172,500 (about =A350) a month.

Kompas - April 15, 1997

Jakarta – Although the People's Democratic Party (PRD) activists refused to appear in court, the public prosecutor announced the sentence it has requested for punishment of those involved in the subversion case. The event took place on Monday (14/4) at the National Court in Central Jakarta and South Jakarta.

Kompas - April 15, 1997 (Abridged from Tapol)

The prosecutors in the nine cases against PRD activists in two district courts in Jakarta presented their summing up to the court on Monday 14 April.

April 14, 1997

Lusa - April 14, 1997

Geneva – The European Union (EU) resolution proposal introduced to the 53 annual meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission being held in Geneva has expressed "profound concern" over the continued human rights violations in East Timor.

Asiaweek - April 14, 1997

These are busy days for Indonesia's courts. The youthful leaders of a leftist – and therefore illegal – group are on trial for subversion. Soon, sacked parliamentarian Sri Bintang Pamungkas, a self-proclaimed presidential nominee, will face a judge.

Tapol - April 14, 1997

London – The London newspaper, Sunday Business, yesterday (April 13th) broached the heretical possibility that US mining giant Freeport McMoran may be deliberately under-estimating the grade of the Busang gold deposit in Indonesian Kalimantan.

YS124 - April 14, 1997

Comrades in struggle!!, in the framework of giving support to the struggle of Mega, let's go to the parliament in Senayan [South-Central Jakarta] on Tuesday, April 15, to join in carrying out a demonstration, strongly protesting the Final PDI Nomination Lists, and prepared to face and resist all obstacles carried out by any party.

April 13, 1997

Radio Australia - April 13, 1997

The Australian Greens party is calling on people to join an organisation which is offering to hide asylum seekers from East Timor if the Federal Government tries to deport them.

The Greens say the Government will send thousands of asylum seekers back if it wins a case currently before the Federal Court.

Straits Times - April 13, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto yesterday warned the country to guard against rumours which could spark unrest following a wave of mass violence ahead of general election here.

His warning came after reports that more than a dozen pro-Golkar Muslim preachers were in hiding after riots in Central Java.

Asiaweek - April 13, 1997

Susan Berfield and Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Siti Hardyanti Rukmana is a woman of considerable means. She is Indonesia's foremost businesswoman – her diversified conglomerate PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada is worth an estimated $1 billion. She is a top official in the ruling party Golkar and, of course, the eldest of President Suharto's six children.

April 12, 1997

South China Morning Post - April 12, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Students at one of the most prestigious state-run universities are expected to join the swelling ranks of protest voters at the May 29 election, according to a recent poll.

Bali Post - 12 April, 1997

Gianyar – Scores of pro-Megawati PDI supporters in Gianyar besieged the pro-Soerjadi Secretariat during a protest on Friday (11/4). Wearing religious attire they drove around the offices on motorbikes and protested, refusing to accept the existence of [Soerjadi's] version of the congress.

April 11, 1997

The Nation, Bangkok - April 11, 1997

Jakarta – When thousands of people gathered in Dili on Christmas eve last year to welcome home East Timor Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo from Oslo, where he had been awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, posters of Xanana Gusmao fluttered from all sections of the crowd.

Lusa - April 11, 1997

Geneva – 378 people were reported missed from November 1995 to the same month last year in East Timor, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) chief, Kofi Annan.

Republika - April 11, 1997

[As reported in an earlier posting, the students were calling for a boycott of the elections. This is not mentioned in the Republika report. TAPOL]

Kompas - April 11, 1997

Jakarta – Three of the accused in Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) subversion case, Budiman Sudjatmiko, Garda Sembiring and Ignatius Pranowo, who are being tried separately, carried out a walk out, before being question by the Central Jakarta State Court on Thursday (10/4).

South China Morning Post - April 11, 1997

Agencies in Dili – Independence leader Jose Ramos Horta said he had evidence troops killed four students who clashed with police in the East Timor capital of Dili last month as they tried to get a petition to a UN special envoy.

Kompas - 11 April, 1997

Palembang – The 24 anniversary held on the grounds of the headquarters of the South Sumatra PDI offices on Wednesday (9/4), became a physical confrontation between pro-Megawati and pro-Soerjadi cadre.

April 10, 1997

Republika - April 10, 1997

Parts of Central Java appear to be turning into a battleground between GOLKAR and the PPP. These clashes, now being fought out in several towns in the north of the province which are all regarded as PPP strongholds, are a portent of something far more damaging than the 'war of colours' that erupted between PPP supporters and local officials/GOLKAR in Solo and spread elsewhere.]

Peoples Democratic Party - April 10, 1997

On April 7 members of the Struggle Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights (APDHAM) entered the courtroom where Dita Sari and Coen Pontoh were being tried. It was the day on which they would read out their defence speeches. At 10.00am Dita and Coen arrived at the court where Dita handed out flowers to the judge, prosecutor and those in the gallery.

Various - April 10, 1997

According to reports today from AFP (in Jakarta) and Reuter (in Dili), the resistance has killed six and wounded five others in two ambushes in East Timor. The exiled CNRM confirmed the attacks and said the death toll was probably higher, but sources in the Indonesian-occupied territory doubted whether the resistance was involved.

April 9, 1997

South China Morning Post - April 9, 1997

An ethnic Chinese man has been jailed for 3.5 years for triggering a race riot in West Java. Tjio Kim Tjang, 55, was convicted of spreading hatred against a certain group in Rengasdengklok by submitting them to humiliating acts.

SiaR - April 9, 1997

Jakarta – President Soeharto's health has been an issue in the foreign media all week. It was reported that Suharto (77) suffered a mild stroke on April 1. This report was denied by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas as nonsense.

Asiaweek - April 9, 1997

Keith Loveard – When armed men robbed a bank in the northern town of Lhokseumawe earlier this year, Indonesia's top brass noticed. Not because the men escaped with $172,000. Nor because they killed two people and wounded three military police. Rather, the generals suspected this was no ordinary heist but the work of Acehnese separatists.

Straits Times - April 9, 1997

Susan Sim, Semarang – Troops were called out to guard a housing estate in the coastal city of Pekalongan yesterday following fresh clashes between supporters of rival political parties.