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Chronology of 'Flower laying ceremony commemorating the bloody July 27 incident'

Info Pembebasan (Liberation) - July 27, 1997

[The following is a translation of a chronology sent to ASIET written on Sunday, July 27, 12 midnight and by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]

6am - Thousands of people began arriving at Jl. Diponegoro, most of them wearing shirts and head bands with slogans supporting Megawati Sukarnoputri. The situation was very tense with more fully armed soldiers on guard than the pro-Megawati Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) supporters who tried to disperse them before the numbers grew too large.

8.30am - The flower laying ceremony began lead by the Communication Forums for the 124 Families (Forum Komunikasi Keluarga 124, FKK 124) (1) at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices, Jl. Diponegoro No 74 (2). The reading of the chronology of the July 27 incident described how thousands of democracy fighters fell but this did not defeat the heroism of those working to democratise Indonesia. The ceremonies were also marked by tears and lamentations for the families of the many victims, many of whom attended the event. Shouts of "Viva Mega!" and "Hang Suharto" erupted spontaneously. The event continued until 10am. At 10.30am the action was closed with the reading of a prayer and laying flowers on the road in front of the YLBHI offices.

Following the flower laying ceremony, the military requested that they disperse. But there were shouts to resist [the request]. Confusion then occurred about whether Megawati would appear or had returned home and as a result many waited for her at her house in Kebagusan. There was also reports that Megawati was in North or Central Jakarta. Nevertheless, the 250 or so people moved off towards Jl. Selemba (about 1 kilometre East of Jl. Diponegoro) lead by the chair of the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Komite Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi, KNPD). Around five banners, coloured black, red and white which were unfurled, the writing on them was not clear.

Throughout the rally, they laid flowers and shouted "Viva Mega!" and "Hang Suharto!". At around 11.40am at the Saming F. intersection in front of the University of Indonesia medial faculty, Salemba, they were blocked and forced into Jl Pramuka. The one's at the front were walking very fast and so those at the back were left behind, followed by soldiers. Bit by bit the numbers grew so that by Jl. Selemba, they had reached 300 people.

For the length of Jl. Pramuka those in front continued to walk very fast and those at the back became scattered. A number of people tried to contact the rally leaders and ask them to halt the march and hold a free speech forum. However the leaders did not follow any of the suggestions on the grounds that if they stopped the military would have a reason to attack them. During the march they chanted "Mega the New President!". "Hang Suryadi!" (3). The numbers continued to grow reaching 400 people. The were also very large numbers of people watching the action and giving support.

12.30pm - The previous chants reverberated again except "Hang Suryadi!" was exchanged with "Hang Suharto!". Other chants that were added were "Reject the Election Results!". "Suharto is a Dog!". "Suharto is a Pig!" (4). Around Jl. Pramuka they stopped for a moment to hold a free speech forum. They then moved off again towards Tanjung Priok [a port area in North Jakarta]. By then the crowd was tired after walking so far and was much quieter than before.

1.24pm - The crow continued north until it came to an intersection which if taken East, lead to East Jakarta. A debate occurred over which direction to take. PDI members from East Timor said they wanted to go East, those from North Jakarta wanted the rally to continue to North Jakarta. The group which went North aimed to go to the North Jakarta PDI offices.

People arrested (their names and situation is unclear)

  1. A. (student, UII Yogyakarta)
  2. Ks. (student, FS UGM)
  3. Sf. (student, Unitomo Surabaya)
  4. By. (student, Unsoed Purwokerto)
  5. Gun. (Temporary chair, KNPD Yogyakarta)
  6. K. (student, FE UII Yogyakarta)
  7. P. (student, FK UNS Solo)
  8. Indra (Central KNPD leader)

75 people were arrested and are now being held by police. Among them are:

  1. Tangerang PDI leaders (Malawati, Bambang, Mulyono, dr. Tjiptaning and Yana)
  2. Tatik (Security officer, South Jakarta PDI)
  3. Tonton and 16 others from South Jakarta
  4. PDI 5 from Pandegiling, Surabaya 3 from South Sumatra

Translators notes:

1. FKK 124 refers to the 124 PDI members who were wounded during the attack on the PDI offices on July 27, 1996
2. Jl.: Jalan, Street, Road. The YLBHI offices are located on the same street some 300 metres from the PDI offices.
3. Suryadi: PDI chair installed at the Medan congress in 1996.
4. Referring to someone as a "dog" (anjing) or pig (babi) in Indonesian society is considered an extremely strong insult.

[Translated by James Balowski]