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Candidates’ posters burnt, but police save Mega’s picture

Detik.com - June 10, 2004

Budi Sugiharto, Surabaya – Very strange and mysterious. When demonstrators from the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) wanted to set fire to five posters of the respective presidential and vice-presidential candidates, police rushed in to save President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s picture. Meanwhile they left the four posters of the other candidates to burn.

The incident occurred when around 100 PRD activists were demonstrating in front of the General Election Commission offices on Jalan Tanggul Angin in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on Thursday June 10. The demonstrators, lead by Hendrik, were demonstrating against the five pairs of presidential candidates because they believe that they had failed to build the nation and state, failed to eliminate corruption, collusion and nepotism, had been involved in human rights crimes and sold off the nation’s assets.

They also said that candidates had failed to side with the poor. The demonstrators also opposed the recent legislative elections and because they believe that they were only a means to seek legitimisation for the reemergence of the New Order regime of former President Suharto.

After voicing their demands, the demonstrators got ready to burn the posters. But just as they were about to set fire to them, police, who had been tightly guarding the action, suddenly snatched away Megawati’s picture. And the one who actually saved Megawati’s poster was none other than South Surabaya local police chief, Superintendent Alex Sampe.

Why was Megawati saved? “Because she is a state official who is still in office”, answered Sampe. “Hey, isn’t [Vice-President] Hamzah Haz also still in office?”. “No comment”.

The action ended at 11.30 am local time. The flow of traffic wasn’t disrupted because the demonstration was not held on a main road. (nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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