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BOB solidarity action for UMI students and Bashir

Fpdra.com – May 3, 2004

Ilham M., Jakarta – On May 3, 50 activists from the United Opposition Front (Barisan Oposisi Bersatu, BOB) held a free speech forum on the University of Indonesia (UI) campus in Salemba, Central Jakarta. During the action which began at 11.30am, the activists rejected the reemergence of militarism and condemned the beating of Indonesian Islamic University (UMI) students in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar.

The general chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), Yusuf Lakaseng, condemned the brutal actions by police against UMI students and the beating of [recently rearrested Muslim cleric Abu Bakar] Bashir supporters which is increasingly convincing people of the dangers of the next president coming from the military. He said that even though they were not yet in power and were still only presidential candidates they were already bold enough to show their militaristic nature.

The dangers of the reemergence of militarism does not just come from presidential candidates from the military but also from civilian presidential candidates such incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri, said Lakaseng in his speech. Lakaseng also called on all of the reformist forces to unite both in a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary movements in order that we can block the dangers of the reemergence of militarism, the New Order [regime of former President Suharto] and the fake reformists.

At the end of the action, BOB activists also call on [former President] Gus Dur, [National Awakening Party chairperson] Amien Rais, the Freedom Bull National Party and the Pioneer Party to unite with the people in a united opposition front in order that we can block the forces of militarism. The BOB activists also set fire to tyres and military uniforms in front of the UI Salemba campus sending a plume of black smoke into the sky.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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