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Right wing, military-linked groups mobilise to prevent Papernas declaration
Media Indonesia - March 29, 2007
Wisnu, Jakarta – Around 2,000 people from various mass organisations from East Java, West Java and the Greater Jakarta area gathered at the Proclamation Monument in Central Jakarta on Thursday March 29 to prevent the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) from holding a declaration there later in the day. The groups accused Papernas of being a new manifestation of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
The groups from East Java consisted of some 60 people from the Islamic Youth Front (FPI), the Forum for Unity among Muslim Communities (FUI) and the Red-White Forum (FMP). The West Java groups comprised around 100 members of the Anti-Communist Front (Permak) and the Community Forum for Sons and Daughters of the Armed Forces (FKPPI). The remainder meanwhile came from the Greater Jakarta area and were made up of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR), the Indonesian Movement of National Patriots (GNPI) and the Community of Sons and Daughters of the Police (KBP3).
FBR general chairperson KH Fadloli El Munhir said that the action was held to prevent the Papernas declaration that is scheduled to be held at 11am today at the monument. According to Munhir, the new political party is tangible evidence that the communist movement has started to revive in Indonesia. “This party is based upon the Three Banners1, the same principles as the PKI”, he asserted.
Munhir argues that if the Papernas declaration goes ahead it means that the government is allowing communist ideology to grow and develop in Indonesia. Moreover he continued, this communist party has consistently spread hostility against the New Order regime of former President Suharto, the army and has been campaigning to bring down Pancasila as the state ideology. “Because of this, we will use any means to thwart the revival of communism in Indonesia. Even if it requires violence”, asserted Munhir.
Initially the action proceeded in a peaceful and orderly manner guarded over by personnel from the Metro Jaya police. At around 11.30am however, around 200 people from one of the FPI groups separated and moved off towards Jl. Sudirman. “They are conducting a sweep for Papernas members”, Central Jakarta District Police Deputy Chief Henri Wibowo said at the Proclamation Monument.
Wibowo said that many as 1,500 Papernas members are planning to gather in front of the Department of Education on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta. He went on to explain that the people conducting the sweep ran into the Papernas members and a clash broke out. “But it took place in Dukuh Atas, Setiabudi, in the area covered by the South Jakarta district police”, he added.
Wibowo went on to say that the Central Jakarta police had deployed 500 officers to maintain security. According to Media Indonesia’s observations, aside from uniformed police officers, three were at least 30 intelligence officers in the vicinity of the monument and two units of fully armed anti-riot police.
Based on field reports the group conducting the sweep at Jl. Sudirman succeeded in stopping 16 Metro Mini busses being used by Papernas. In the ensuing clash, five of the busses were severely damaged.
At around 1.30pm most of those gathered at the monument were pulled out because according to Munhir they had received a guarantee from the head of the Central Jakarta district police that the Papernas declaration had been canceled. “Our struggle has succeeded, I appeal to our members to return to their respective areas and not be provoked so that another clash occurs”, he instructed before leaving the monument.
The chairperson of GNPI’s central leadership board, Alfian Tanjung asserted that their members will continued to be ready at any moment to return to the Proclamation Monument if Papernas goes ahead and holds a declaration. “The thing is, the demonstrators from Papernas are going to the offices of the Nahdlatul Ulama's Central Board to meet with Gus Dur [former President Abdurrahman Wahid] to obtain support so that they can declare the party today”, he said.
1. Papernas’ Three Banners of National Unity are abolishing the foreign debt, nationalising the mining industry and building the national industry for the welfare of the people.
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]
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