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Demonstrators burn bier and effigy of Bachtiar at parliament

Detik.com - May 5, 2004

Fredolin Adhysa Pelupessy, Jakarta – On Wednesday May 5, demonstrators from a number of Islamic mass organisations went to the national parliament to demand the dismissal of Indonesian police chief Da’i Bachtiar.

The hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in front of the parliamentary gates on Jalan Lapangan Tembak in Senayan, shouted for Bachtiar to be dismissed immediately and set fire to a bier with an effigy of Bachtiar inside it.

The demonstrators, who came from a number of groups including the Islamic Youth Front, the Jakarta Mujahiddin Council and the Islamic Defenders Front, said that Bachtiar was responsible for a number of acts of violence from the incident in which [Muslim cleric and terrorist suspect] Abu Bakar Bashir was moved from Salemba Prison to the violence on the campus of the Indonesian Islamic University in Makassar, [South Sulawesi in which police stormed the campus on May 1 injuring at least 60 students].

“All of this violence is a form of intimidation against the Islamic community and [Islamic] activities. It must be stopped immediately”, said the deputy chairperson of the Mujahiddin Council, Jamal Aldin.

As well as condemning violence by police, demonstrators also called for Bashir, who is also the head of the Mujahiddin Council, to be released immediately. According to the demonstrators, Bashir has never committed acts of terrorism.

During the action, demonstrators burnt a bier with an effigy inside resembling a corpse with the name Da’i Bachtiar written on it. “Step down… step down… step down now. Sack Da’i right now”, shouted the demonstrators as the fire took hold.

After the bier and effigy had been burnt, the demonstrators dispersed little by little, most of all because heavy rain had started to fall. (djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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