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Hunger strike commemorating East Timor

MateBEAN - December 9, 1997

Jakarta – Five members of the Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) began a hunger strike on the grounds of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation in Jakarta last Monday (8/12). They held the action as a protest against the Indonesian military invasion of East Timor 12 years ago, on December 8, 1975.

The five PRI youths on the hunger strike are Fitria Adiarti (UNPAR Bandung), Sambas (santri PERSIS Garut), Binbin (STIKOM Bandung), Gugum (STM Bandung). They intend to continue the hunger strike for three days although as this story goes to print, Tuesdays afternoon (9/12), one of the hunger strikers, Gagum, is already very weak.

"The plan tonight is for a medical team to examine him", said Faisal, the spokesperson for the hunger strikers. On Monday night a number of plain clothed security personnel were milling about in the area. They tried to provoke the hunger strikers.

In its statement, FRI asked Suharto to give the people of East Timor the freedom to [carry out an act of] self determination. They also asked that Xanana Gusmao and all political prisoners jailed by the Suharto government be freed.

Meanwhile, the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Komite Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi, KNPD) released a statement. Signed by the organisation's general secretary, Nur Hikmah, it call on all the democratic forces to unite in opposing all military actions by the New Order government.

KNPD also call on the people of East Timor to continue the struggle and unite and struggle together with democratic groups in Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski]