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Hundreds of protesters in Medan oppose pardon for Suharto

Detik.com - January 31, 2008

Khairul Ikhwan, Medan Ė On Thursday afternoon, January 31, hundreds of people from the Try Suharto People's Committee (Koras) held a protest action in front of the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives building on Jl. Imam Bonjol in Medan. They were calling on the government not to give amnesty to former President Suharto and continue to try the perpetrators of human rights crimes against civilians during the New Order period.

The demonstrators came from 22 different organisations in Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra, including the 1965 Committee for the Victims of Human Rights Violations (KKP HAM '65), Formadas, the Indonesian Student Union (SMI), Public Transparency (TP), the Medan Indonesian National Students Movement (GMNI Medan), the National Students Front (FMN), the peasant organising group Agra, the Makassar Legal Aid Foundation (Bakumsu), the North Sumatra women's group Perempuan Mahardhika National Network, the Working People's Association (PRP), the National Students Forum (FMN), the North Sumatra Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras Sumut), the cultural organisation Lentera, Kotib, the Society for Victims of the New Order (Pakorba), the Witness Protection Coalition (KPS), Nusantara Human Rights (HAM Nusantara), the Pro-Democracy Students Movement (Gema Prodem), YLPPHN, Positip, the North Sumatra Indonesian National Labour Front for Struggle (FNPBI Sumut) and the North Sumatra National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas Sumut).

The Protesters, who brought a number of posters and also gave speeches, called on the government to seize all of the assets belonging to Suharto, his family and cronies, because Suharto's wealth is a result of corruption, collusion and nepotism. The also urged the government to set the nation's history straight, particularly the humanitarian tragedy between 1965-1966 which was distorted by the Suharto regime. "Suharto himself is a human rights criminal", said Jasman, one of the participants in the action.

Protesters reminded the government to implement People's Consultative Assembly Decree No. XI/1998, which orders the investigation into corruption, collusion and nepotism involving Soeharto and his cronies, and opposed the government's decision announcing seven days of national morning and for flags to be flown a half mast, because Suharto is not a national hero. (rul/asy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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