APSN Banner

Wonosobo and Banjarnegara struck by unrest

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.]

The districts of Wonosobo and Banjarnegara were struck by riots on Wednesday 9 April. Many vehicles were destroyed and three village administration offices attacked. It would appear that the clashes are the result of the same conflict that erupted in Pekalongan, namely rivalry between two of the contesting parties (not mentioned here, but clearly meaning GOLKAR and the PPP). Police chiefs in Banyumas and Wonosobo said the riots were on a small scale but admitted that police backed up by army units are keeping watch over areas though to be explosive.

The trouble in Wonosobo erupted after a local celebration of the PPP's 24th anniversary when some people started attacking the local administration office. They arrived in trucks and on motorbikes and pulled down the GOLKAR flag. This inflamed passions on the other side. Dozens of homes in the village of Bendungan and a prayer house were attacked. Almost all shops in Wonosobo remained closed.

Huge crowds of people who had attended a 24th anniversary event caused trouble in Banjarnegara. Thousands of people on trucks and motorbikes were able to break through barricades set up by the security forces which tried to prevent the masses from entering the town. Clashes broke out between the crowds and the security forces.

In an attempt to prevent the trouble from spread even further, police set up blocks on the road to Semarang (the provincial capital) through Klampok, Banjarnegara and Wonosobo. Buses were unable to complete their routes because of the road closures.

Later police claimed the situation was under control and traffic between Purwokerto and Wonosobo was now flowing normally again.