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TNI ‘removes’ students and farmers protesting Pasuruan shootings

Detik.com - June 4, 2007

Triono Wahyu Sudibyo, Salatiga – Around 250 students and farmers from the Central Java city of Salatiga were disappointed after being ‘removed’ before having a chance to express long list of grievances over the shooting incident in the Central Java regency Pasuruan on May 30. The demonstration was to have been held at a local sub-district military command (Korem).

Initially, the coalition of protesters from the Peoples and Students Farmers Concern Alliance (ARMPP), which is made up of the Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII), the Central Java Peasants Organisation (OTJT), the Indonesian Youth Front for Struggle (FPPI), the Qariyah Thoyibbah United Peasants Association (SPPQT) and various non-government organisations, started the action at the State College of Islamic Religious Studies campus on Jl. Teuku Umar.

From the campus they held a three-kilometer march to Korem via Jl. Jalan Diponegoro. Scores of police officers escorted the rally and traffic on the main street in Salatiga slowed to a crawl.

Upon arriving at Korem, scores of officers from the Salatiga District Police Crowd Control Unit (Dalmas) were ready to intercept them. Action coordinator Imam Rozy invited a number of demonstrators to hold a theatrical action depicting the TNI’s brutality against farmers.

Shortly after two coalition representatives had finished giving speeches, all of a sudden a TNI officer approached the crowd and asked if they had a permit to hold the action. Failing to receive a satisfactory answer, the officer then ordered TNI personnel to ‘remove’ the demonstrators.

The demonstrators however remained clam. Under the leadership of Rozy, they proceed to hold a prayer for the dead (shalat gaib) to pray for those killed in Pasuruan. At around 11.40 am, less than a minute after finishing the prayer, the demonstrators disbanded peacefully and left Korem.

The demonstrators then moved off to the offices of the Salatiga Regional House of Representatives escorted by scores of Dalmas personnel and traffic police. During the action the demonstrators demanded that the government fully investigate the shooting at Pasuruan, uphold civil supremacy and rejected the resurgence of militarism ala the New Order regime of former President Suharto. “Farmers provide an important service to us all, why must they be oppressed”, said Rozy. (try/djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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