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Ancol homes destroyed in public order operation

Jakarta Post - October 6, 2001

Muninggar Sri Saraswati and Ahmad Junaidi, Jakarta – Some 50 fishing families lost their homes after the North Jakarta public order office on Thursday demolished their houses, which were allegedly built without any legal permit.

Not only did the officers destroy all buildings in the fishing village in East Ancol, but also their working equipment, Misbahudian Gasma from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute said on Friday. "Because of the destruction, they don't have any appropriate place to live ...," Misbahudian told The Jakarta Post.

The city administration demolished the buildings to make way for the development of a recreation area with jetski facilities. The government provided them with an alternative site in Marunda, but the residents, who had been living in Ancol for decades, refused to move. They claimed that they had developed the village without the mayoralty's help.

Currently, the fishermen and their families live in temporary tents in the area. The raid started at 6am on Thursday when public order officers, supported by the police, attempted to tear the village down. There was a minor clash between the officers and residents, who attempted to stop the demolition, according to Misbahudian.

The officers suspended their activities at 10am but at 1.30pm they continued, using a bulldozer, although activists from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Urban Poor Consortium and INFID were trying to negotiate with the officers. All houses and buildings in the village were demolished about three hours later.

Misbahudian claimed that the residents suffered losses of over Rupiah 770 million, while children were unable to attend school and the fishermen were prevented from going about their work.

According to Misbahudian, the North Jakarta Mayoralty had been attempting to get rid of the village since 1965. The last time the authorities tore down the houses, in 1985, a baby was killed, he said.

Meanwhile, city councillor Binsar Tambunan of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle supported the action conducted by the city public order office. "They [the fishermen] are not Jakarta residents. They illegally occupy the land," Binsar, who is a member of the council's commission A for administrative and legal affairs, said.

He called for the evicted people, for the sake of development, to move to the land in the Marunda area, which had been provided by the administration. However, he also urged the public order office to prepare shelters on the Marunda plot and help the people to move to the new site. "It would also be better for the administration to give them compensation by covering transportation fees to the new site," he said.