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Pythons to be deployed for polIs

Jakarta Post - March 26, 1997

Semarang – Military authorities in this Central Java city are planning to deploy at least 20 pythons to safeguard the May general election and the March 1998 presidential election.

Lt. Col. Harry Purdianto of Central Java's infantry battalion was quoted by the Suara Merdeka daily as saying yesterday the pythons, about six meters long and weighing 15 kilograms, would take part in safeguarding the polls, particularly against anti-government demonstrators.

"We are also preparing snake charmers, in case unexpected things happen," Harry said. If the demonstrators persist and get through the snakes, another layer of security personnel would be ready with rifles and rubber bullets, he added.

The May 29 general election will be preceded by a four-week-long campaign. More than 120 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in the sixth general election under President Soeharto's administration and the seventh since Indonesia gained independence in 1945. (swe)