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Anti-Communist Front threatens to break up Papernas Congress

Detik.com - January 18, 2007

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – Threats and intimidation still find fertile ground in Indonesia. The organisation of the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) has been threatened by a group of people calling themselves the Indonesian Anti-Communist Front (FAKI). Police are also guarding the congress.

The Papernas Congress is to be held at the Wisma Sejahtera building in Kaliurang in the Sleman sub-district of Yogyakarta, Central Java, on Thursday January 18. According to the schedule, the congress that is to be attended by some 300 people from throughout Indonesia would end on Sunday January 21.

Speaking with Detik.com at the Wisma Sejahtera, the head of the Papernas organising committee, Lalu Hilman Afriandi recounted the threat. On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of FAKI members arrived at the site. They did not however meet with members of the Papernas Congress committee and the other participants had not yet arrived.

In the end, they ran into the owner of Wisma Sejahtera who they asked if it was true that the Wisma Sejahtera would be used for the Papernas Congress. They also asked about the permit to organise the congress.

“The building owner confirmed that the building had been rented out. But, on the permit, the building owner suggested the group ask the [congress] committee”, said Lalu, who was previously known as an activist from the Yogyakarta National Student League for Democracy (LMND). Confronted by the group, the building owner was worried because they said they planed to break up the event.

Lalu explained that the Papernas Congress was a follow up from a meeting of the Papernas Preparatory Committee that is mandated to form a political party. And the congress in Kaliurang was to be the first congress and at the same time would launch the party.

By 11.50am around 200 participants had already arrived at the building. Meanwhile scores of Sleman district police and Yogyakarta regional police officers were on alert around the Wisma Sejahtera. A red-and-white banner with the word “FAKI” written in red had also been put up at the congress site.

A number of well known figures are to attend the congress including former People’s Consultative Assembly speaker Amien Rais, political observer Revrisond Baswir and labour activist Dita Indah Sari who is now the general chairperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD). It its not yet known however if they will now attend or not.

Lalu was not too worried about FAKI's threat to break up the congress. “The congress will go ahead. I don’t think the FAKI group will come to the congress”, he said.

Up until now, there was no sign of the FAKI in the area of the congress site. (asy/nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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