Jakarta – At least 10 National Mandate Party (PAN) members were injured in a violent dispute during the second day of the party's national congress in the Claro Hotel in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, on Tuesday.
In a video of the incident posted on Twitter, several congress participants are seen throwing chairs at each other after the congress leader adjourned the meeting.
The head of the Southeast Sulawesi Police's General Crime Unit, Sr. Comr. La Ode Aries Elfatar, said four of the injured members were being treated at the Bhayangkara Hospital in Kendari. Several entrances to the meeting room were also damaged in the ruckus.
The fight started when supporters of one of the candidates vying to be party chairman, Mulfachri Harahap, entered the meeting room to protest the congress committee's decision to postpone the meeting.
The organizing committee told congress participants to stay outside the meeting room during the recess, but supporters of incumbent chairman Zulkifli Hasan chose to remain inside, triggering the clash.
Mulfachri said he predicted that a fight would break out because of what he described as poor management on the part of the organizers.
"The registration system is very bad; many people who were not eligible to attend the meeting were given membership cards. Some people also entered the congress without membership cards," he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Meanwhile, Southeast Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Merdisyam said his team had already secured the meeting room following a request from the event's organizers.
"We will not be involved in deciding what started the fight, since it's their internal matter," Merdisyam said. (dpk)