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Student arrested at anniversary rally in Bandung

Republika - April 28, 1997

Bandung – Pajajaran University students held a rally in Bandung on 26 April on the first anniversary of the Ujungpandang tragedy. The rally was marred, however, by a scuffle, and a student was arrested. Prior to the event, university authorities were checking student identification cards before the students were allowed on campus. A worker at the university entrance said only economics and law school students were allowed on the campus. Students of the other schools–particularly mass communications–had to submit their cards to the authorities before they were allowed in.

A group of students were stranded outside at the gate of the university's southern parking lot, including those who wanted to participate in the rally. After five hours of checking, the students finally staged the rally at the university's southern entrance at 1100 West Indonesian Standard Time.

Several students were seen walking toward the middle of the road, so plastic ropes were tied along the roadside to prevent a crowd from walking in the middle of the road.

Barely five minutes after the rally began, scores of uniformed security personnel suddenly appeared and chased the demonstrators. People were shocked by the immediate appearance of the anti-riot police personnel and scurried for safety. In fact, the officials who were checking identification cards were kicked by students who scrambled to get onto the campus. As the gate was not opened wide, some students scaled the campus wall to enter the campus, while others outside clashed with security personnel from the Quick Reaction Unit of the Central Bandung Police. The students who managed to force themselves onto the campus began to hurl stones at the police. A demonstrator, M. Halim, age 21, was detained during the clash. Halim is a law school student from the 1995 class. A student, Juandi Rewang, said he and his friends had already heard rumors that security personnel were looking for Halim. "Perhaps this is a good opportunity for security personnel to arrest him," he said.

No students and security personnel were injured during the clash. "Well, they only struck and caned us. We were only slightly hurt," said Eci, age 22, another student who participated in the rally. [passage omitted on efforts to secure Halim's release - Tapol]