Today, Monday November 17, the Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) held an action in Bandung [West Java]. FRI is a grouping of Bandung pro-democracy groups including:
- Pasundan University Students
- Parahyangan University Students
- Students from the Indonesian Cultural Dance Academy
- IAIN Students
- IKIP Bandung Students
- University Islam Bandung
- An urban poor group
- Rancaekek workers group
The action had two main demands:
- Justice for the people;
- Reject the 1998 MPR session (1)
The action was held at the West Java parliament at 10.30 am. 20 activists were involved. It had only be going for one hour when they were attacked by the police. Eight people were arrested. They are:
- Binbin (STIKOM Bandung)
- Pipit (female) from the Parahyangan University
- Lukman from the Parahyangan University
- Dewi from the Indonesian Cultural Dance Academy
- Sanbas from the urban poor group
- Three students from the Parahyangan University who's identities are unknown
They are now being held and interrogated by Indonesian intelligence at the Bandung police headquarters. There is no information on when they will be released and [it is believed] that they will be charged under a number of articles [of the Criminal Code]. A number of those being interrogated have been asked who was behind the action. Others were asked about the possibility that the action was used by the People's Democratic Party.
They still do not have access to lawyers. Initially they asked for help from the Bandung Legal Aid Institute (LBH) however LBH was unable to do anything. This was because they had not yet obtained a letter of authority from the suspects and the police forbid them from watching out for the suspects.
FRI also held an action last October 28 which was attacked by the military resulting in one of the group having to be treated in hospital.
MPR: Mejalis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, People's Consultative Assembly. The highest legislative body in the country with 1,000 members, 425 of whom are elected with the remainder being appointed by the president. It meets once every five years (usually around a year after the general elections) to hear an outgoing report from the president, enact the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis Besar Haluan Negara, GBHN) and to vote on nominations for the president and vice-president. The next session of the MPR will be held in March 1998.
[Translated by James Balowski]