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More militray violence against students

Kompas - December 18, 1998

Jakarta – Only a week after demonstrations against violence were held in Jakarta, when another bloody incident took place on Thursday (17/12). A clash broke out between security troops and demonstrating students on the way to Parliament House/People's Consultative Assembly in Senayan. The incident developed in a tumultous fight, resulting in many injureds on both sides, among whom were seriously wounded.

Vera (a 95 graduate of the Law Faculty UKI), broke her neck. She was one of the 21 victims who were wounded by security troops when they halted the bus. Military men shot at the bus in the region of Cawang Atas which was transporting students from Senayan to UKI. When the tyres of the bus were shot, the students left the vehicle. Vera, who got out of the bus, was beaten and stepped upon. She broke her neck in the assault.

A team of doctors said that they have to operate Vera in the evening to save her life. 20 Other students are still in the Emergency Unit of UKI Hospital.

Thousands on the roads

Yesterday's demonstrations involved thousands of students from various universities and an action unit in the name of Jabotabek Student Action Committee. Their destination is no longer the National Monument area or the Presidential Palace. Students were moving towards Parliament House/People's Consultative Assembly, after they managed to surround Metro Jaya Police Headquarters.

At least, seven activist units were united in the demonstrations, i.e. Forum Kota, Front Aksi Mahasiswa for Reformation and Democracy (Famred), Forum Komunikasi Senat Mahasiswa Jakarta, Forum Bersama (Forbes), Gerakan Mahasiswa Pancasila untuk Reformasi (Gempur) and the Komite Mahasiswa and Rakyat untuk Demokrasi (Komrad).

In the combined action, they demanded that people connected with the New Order be brought to trial, they also demanded a democratic election. Hundreds of citizens of 25 Islam organizations demonstrating under the name of Front Pembela Islam, protested at the Monas Monument. They appealed to the public to respect the holy month, Ramadhan, and demanded from ABRI (armed forces) and government, to close sinful places.

The public was also requested to halt all disturbing activities that would spoil peace in the fasting Islam community. If government would not take stern measures in this respect, the students would take to the streets and challenge these disturbers of the peace. Meanwhile, around 200 students joined in the Gerakan Reformasi Akhlak, called upon the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) in the Istiqlal Mosque. They appealed to MUI to make their voice heard more in the face of government leaders. They wanted MUI's confirmation in the violent cases directed at the Islam community, like the Aceh, Tanjung Priok and Kupang case. They also demanded to continue the trial of Soeharto.

Armed with sticks

Security around the District Police, Semanggi and Taman Ria Senayan, was not so tight as before. After students surrounded the Police District, students moved freely towards Parliament Building. A student crowd who joined Forum Kota, moved in the front lines together with the students of Komrad. Below the flyover of Taman Ria Senayan, they were stopped by military troops.

Students of both action units were armed with wooden and bamboo sticks. They got in a squabble with other students who disapproved of their "weapons". "Even a worm is trying to worm its way out when it is pinched. And we are expected to take no action when we are beaten and shot at... As long as we do not start first," said Iin, one of the spokesmen of Forum Kota.

Around 16.15, Forum Kota students approached the troops while singing national songs. It was not clear who started first, but, all of a sudden a major clash broke out between the military men and the students. One of the instigators was chased by students, he saved himself behind the military lines.

Students panicked and ran helter skelter towards the Semanggi bridge. However, other students in the rear calmed them down. Four students were clubbed by security men in the incident and a citizen was hit by a rubber bullet in the cheek. Friends of them provided immediate treatment in the middle of the road.

Several students in the Forum Kota fold, dismantled a military tent by pulling out iron poles. The poles were used as weapons. After students held out for some time below the Taman Ria flyover, thousands of Famred students crossed over to the toll road from the opposite direction. They were held by security troops, but a part of them succeeded to reach the side road Grogol to Semanggi. the students split again when they neared Parliament Building. At that time the military barricade of the Military District Commando and the Mobile Brigade of the Police split up.

Head over heels

The troops ran head over heels as they were hit and chased by Forum Kota students. The military men fled in the safety of the restaurant Pulau Dua, located about 200 meters from their former position. This act confused the students in the front lines. At that time other troops stationed at the exit of the toll road in front of Parliament House fired on the students with rubber bullets and tear gas. The students ran for safety in all directions. Several fell under the impact of bullets and beatings of the security troops. It was a frightful situation. Students were looking for shelter in an illegal building across Parliament House. Others found security in a village, a Navy complex, another part withdrew in the Semanggi area.

Fights broke out several times. The students went out of control. Several fought the onslaught of the troops, armed only with molotov bombs. One of the fire bombs hit a military tent which burned out beside the Senayan Conference Hall. The fight stopped when the muezzin called for evening prayers.


Until 23.00 the daily Kompas made a note of victims in the following hospitals.

Mintohardjo Navy Hospital: This hospital has provided first aid to 56 students at first. Most of them were suffering from bruises and headwounds. Many of them were sent home, but, six students were transferred to Carolus Hospital and Jakarta Hospital.

Pelni Petamburan Hospital: In this hospital Indah (18) of Mustopo University, Yuni (20) of STNI and Dian Aryaningsih (18) of YAI have been treated. All three of them are suffering from slight wounds and have been released already.

Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital: Informations was received that two students were treated here, Yosi Reza (21), student of the National Hotel Institute (NHI) Bandung, Debidiah (20), student of the Foreign Languages Academy Kartanegara, in Cawang East Jakarta. She has a broken left arm.

St. Carolus Hospital: Information gathering was still going on at 23.00 by a team of volunteers. According to Kompas, 16 students had been treated here for head bruises, hand bruises or in other parts of their bodies. Ian Sulifa was one of the 16. A first semester student of the Pancasila University, he suffered injuries on his back. Others were Indriani, a first semester student of Tarakanita, who was injured by a rubber bullet.

Jakarta Hospital: Until 22.00 as many as 51 victims had been treated in different hospitals of Jakarta. Many victims suffered light injuries and were allowed to go home after treatment, others were treated at the Health Clinic of Atma Jaya University. When Kompas arrived at around 19.00, the total victims in Jakarta hospitals had reached 28. Most of them suffered bruises on the head, some were hit by rubber bullets.

Two female students from the Advanced School of Communication Science Inter Study, Ega (18) and Eka Kurnia Ningsih, suffered head bruises. Eight new victims from the Institute of Social and Political Sciences (IISIP) Taufik Hasan (Faculty of Administrative Science/FIA), Pipin (FIA), Endah (Humas) who suffered several broken fingers. Akum, Indra, and Rahma also had broken fingers.

One of the female students of the Foreign Languages Academy broke her right arm. She was hit by five military men. Her friend, Rida (20) fainted because she was gased with teargas and had been beaten. Meanwhile Aris Budi of the Muhammadiyah University suffered a punctured stomach when a rubber bullet him there.

At 20.00 Ian Sulivan of the Pancasila University was carried in the emergency sector. His right hip was also hit by a rubber bullet, while Dodo of UAJ who suffered a brain concussion was transferred to Cikini Hospital at 19.15. At the Health Clinic of Atma Jaya, Kompas noted seven names of victims who were lying on the floor. They were David (21) of ISTN, Arif (24) of the Indonesian Advanced Law School (STHI), Rizal (22) of Muhammadiyah University, Roy (19) of Jakarta University, Agus (20) of UMJ, Chandra Suryo (23) of UAJ.

The Coordinator of the Advocacy Team Special Sessions of the People's Consultative Assembly (Taksi) who was at the Health Clinic of UAJ with a well known figure of Suara Ibu Peduli, Karlina Leksono, disapproved the cruel acts of the security troops.

UKI Hospital

Different from other victims who became victims of straight violence in the neighborhood of Senayan, the victims of UKI Hospital in Cawang East Jakarta were cruising students who came under fire when their bus "Himpurna" got shot at in Cawang Atas. 21 Persons were injured in this act.

In the UKI Hospital were also four victims from the Senayan area. Two of the four are identified as Endah (19), of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Duhan (24), of the Institute of Science and National Technology. Of 21 students who were assaulted by the military men, was Vera. Friends of her said that she was beaten up when she got out of the bus and that she had broken her neck.

"A team of doctors is ready to operate on her this evening to save her life," said Dr. Suryadi Sudarmo DSB, who is heading the UKI Hospital. The other 20 were beaten with hard objects or were trampled upon. They were, Rontua (26, UKI), Rayu Hernawan (23) of the Advanced Indonesian Management School, Susanto (17) Gunadarma, Leli (Advanced Economic School), Elly (18) Management Academy), Ade Hardiyanto (20) Gunadarman, Taufiq (22) Mpu Tantular, Bernard (26) UKI, Uju (22) Gunadarma, Iwan Hermawan (22) Gunadarma, Rilard Jualam (21) Gunadarma, Dedi Haryadi (21) Gunadarma, Richard (19) UKI, Fera (22) UKI, Aldri (21) Gunadarma, Agustina UKI, Dudy Desmansyah (18) Gunadarma, Roni Ginting (19) UKI and Leo (STIE Nusantara.

When inquiries were made about the incident at Cawang Atas, the Chief Police East Jakarta Resort, Lt. Colonel Sahrir Kuba, said curtly that he had not received a report yet about it. On the military side, at least 16 people (10 policemen, 5 Army soldiers, 1 Marine) were injured and treated at the Medical and Health Services of Metro Jaya District Police. One of the wounded men had ten stitches on his head. One of the Mobile Brigade men, was in a traumatic condition after the fights.

Chief Police of Metro Jaya District Police, Major General Noegroho Djajoesman, said during his visit to the wounded security men, that this should not have happened. "Let's not have any demonstrations in the Ramadhan month," he said hopefully.