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Anti-military demonstrator beaten black-and-blue in Bali
Detik.com - October 5, 2004
Gede Suardana, Denpasar – Around 15 people who were just about to end an anti-military action were attacked without warning by scores of heavily-built men. One of the demonstrators was beaten black-and-blue.
The story began at 2pm on Tuesday October 5 when demonstrators from the United Opposition Front (BOB) were holding an action on Jalan Sudirman Denpasar in Bali, several metres from the Udayana University.
The protesters came from the Muhammadiyah Student Association (IMM), the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the Women’s Social Institute (LSP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PRD).
The demonstrators were rejecting the enactment of the law on the TNI (armed forces), demanding the abolition of Koramil, Babinsa, Korem, Kodam and Kodim1, calling for the generals who have perpetrated human rights violations to be tried, demanding an end to the military operations in Aceh and West Papua along with calling for an increase in the wages of non-commissioned military officers and low-ranking soldiers.
After giving speeches and reading a statement, the demonstrators who had intended to end the demonstration at 2pm were suddenly attacked from several different directions by a gang of heavily-build men. The demonstrators scattered and ran for safety. The scores of police officers who had been guarding the action from the start were only able to watch in surprise at the unexpected incident unfolded.
Agus Januraka, the chairperson of PRD Bali, was grabbed by one of the men and the pamphlets which he was carrying condemning the military were seized and scattered in the street.
Agus was subsequently rescued by police officers one of which was the head of the West Denpasar sectoral police, Chief Inspector Singamata. After it seemed safe, Agus was guarded over by an ordinary police officer.
Suddenly however, the group of men started chasing Agus again and after catching him, he was beaten and punched in the face falling to the ground. The police officer who had been guarding Agus was also pushed by the men and fell.
Agus was then kicked repeatedly by five or so of the men. His body which was rolling across the ground because of the kicking had become a game. The police officer who had fallen then grabbed Agus and took him inside the campus for his protection.
Agus appeared to be staggering. His left eye was swollen so that he could no longer see and his right hand was scratched and torn. Passers by could only watch the violence not having the courage to do anything and traffic was blocked as drivers stopped their vehicles to look.
A short time later two platoons of police arrived and immediately closed off the entrance to the campus to prevent another attack by the men.
“I don’t know who and am not aquatinted with the person who hit me. The person was heavily-built. The police couldn’t do anything”, complained Agus after he was inside the campus.
Meanwhile, according to one of the other demonstrators, they experienced a similar incident during the heat of the presidential elections. At the time they involved in holding a demonstration with similar demands. When they were several metres from the Udayana IX regional military command headquarters the demonstrators were attacked by a group of men from the Indonesian Sons and Daughters Communication Forum (FKPPI), an organisation made up of children of military officers. (sss)
1. The TNI's territorial command structure mandates the deployment of military command posts and detachments at all levels of the civil administration: provincial, district, sub-district and village. This structure provides the organisational framework for the TNI to act as a political security force at all levels of society. The five respective commands are: Kodam - Komando Daerah Militer, Regional Military Command; Korem - Komando Resort Militer, Military Command at a level below the residency; Kodim - Komando Distrik Militer, District Military Command; Koramil - Komando Rayon Militer, Sub-District Military Command (Kecamatan) level and; Babinsa - Bintara Pembina Desa, Noncommissioned military officer posted in villages and wards and affiliated with the civilian administration.
[Translated by James Balowski.]
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