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Students ‘employ’ police to trample US flags

Detik.com - February 18-19, 2009

Muhammad Taufiqqurahman, Jakarta – Students demonstrating against US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday February 19 ‘forced’ police to help them trample on US flags. The police were left smiling resentfully.

Initially, around 25 students from the Indonesian Muslim Student Action Front (KAMMI) wanted to march towards the State Place in Central Jakarta. The action however met resistance from police who were on guard at the Indosat roundabout on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat.

A scuffle broke out between the students and police when they tried to break through the cordon, but after three attempts the students retreated six paces. As soon as the students retreated, police moved towards them. As a result, the uniformed boots of the police trampled on the US flags. “Huuuuu, at last we are getting some help”, shouted the students happily.

Shouting through a small megaphone, action coordinator Sugeng Wiyono said, “They’re our friends as well, apparently the police are on our side. They’re helping out our action. The evidence being the police have just helped us to trample on US flags”, shouted Wiyono.

Upon hearing this, the students clapped and applauded, while the contingent of police hurriedly retreated and picked up the flags which were then handed back to the students. The students then trampled on them again leaving police to recover the dirty and muddy flags. (Detik.com, 19/2/2009)

Students in Medan protest Clinton visit

Khairul Ikhwan, Medan – Scores of students from the University of North Sumatra held a demonstration near their campus on Thursday February 19 opposing Hillary Clinton’s visit to Indonesia.

During the action, the student held a theatrical action in protest against the Indonesian government for failing to take a stand against US imperialism, including pressure in the economic field. The students also set fire to pictures of Clinton, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and US President Barack Obama.

In speeches, the students said that Clinton’s visit to Indonesia was not just a state visit, but had hidden agendas such as studying weaknesses in the Indonesian economy.

Action coordinator Frans S. said the Indonesian government has failed to take a strong stand against US imperialism. “The meeting between SBY and [Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister] Hasan Wirayuda with Hillary Clinton signifies that the Indonesian government is still America’s errand boy”, said Frans. (Detik.com, 19/2/2009)

Anti-Clinton protesters hold sit-in action near Palace

Anwar Khumaini, Jakarta – Some 50 demonstrators protesting against the 2009 elections and the visit to Indonesia by Hillary Clinton were involved in a scuffle with police on February 18 during a sit-in that resulted in major traffic jams in the vicinity of the National Monument in Central Jakarta.

The scuffle broke out at around 4pm near the Constitutional Court when scores of students from the National University arrived and formed up in ranks preparing to head off for the State Palace.

The police however held that the students were taking up too much of the road and began pushing students on the outer edge in order to tighten up the crowd. They also asked that a car belonging to the protesters carrying a sound system not be taken on the rally to the Palace.

In response to what the demonstrators saw as repressive actions by police, they responded by trying to force the police back while hurling insults. They then held the sit-in action. (Detik.com, 18/2/2009)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski from three reports posted on the Detik.com news portal. See also Students pelt ‘Hillary’ with shoes, blame US for violence in Gaza.]

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