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Police stand by as anti-communist thugs attack discussion group

Detik.com - February 6, 2008

Irwan Nugroho, Jakarta – Apparently on account of being accused of being communists, an activity organised by the Joint School Forum (Sekber) was attacked and a number of participants injured yesterday.

“Our activities were just training and consolidation. Sharing ideas about nationalism, for example the rising price of basic goods, the New Order regime [of former President Suharto] becoming stronger and the like”, said Sekber committee chairperson Hasan Sofyan when speaking with Detik.com on Wednesday February 5.

According to Hasan – who is better known as Upik – Sekber was formed in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on May 25, 2002. The organisation has no relationship with the communist movement in Indonesia.

“We were born out of the 2000 generation and know absolutely nothing about the issue of the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party]. Whey was [the discussion] broken up? Our activities already had a permit from police and the local sub-district administration”, added Upik.

Upik said that the attack occurred on Tuesday February 5 at around 2pm. At the time, he and around 150 Sekber members from 19 cities across Indonesia were taking part in training at the Mangunan village in the Dlingo sub-district of Bantul regency.

All of a sudden, continue Upik, members of the Yogyakarta Indonesian Anti-Communist Front (FAKI) entered the building and began attacking participants and broke up the meeting, which had been going on since the day before. “We were beaten and trampled on. Documents were also burnt”, said Upik.

According to Upik, as a result of the attack, a number of his colleagues suffered injuries and they are currently lying low at a different location. “We will still continue the activities. We will also pursue the case legally”, added Upik.

Upik said that a number of Indonesian military personnel and police were on guard at the location but that they took no action whatsoever. “They should protect residents. But security personnel just allowed the attack to go ahead,” he added. (irw/gah)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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