Indonesia: PRD activists injured in attacks

June 23, 1999

By Max Lane

On June 4, an anti-Golkar demonstration by People's Democratic Party (PRD) activists in the East Java town of Gresik was attacked by the Police Mobile Brigade. About 20 PRD activists and 100 onlookers were chased into alleys and beaten.

East Java PRD chairperson and former political prisoner Mohammed Sholeh suffered a head injury from a rifle butt, as did the chairperson of the Gresik branch, Zaenal. Other activists needed stitches.

On June 14, the new PRD branch in the Central Java town of Sukoharjo organised a picket outside the local courthouse to demand the disqualification of Golkar for cheating during the election and that former president Suharto to be put on trial.

Without warning, a platoon of Mobile Brigade police attacked the picketers, beating them and tearing up their posters and placards. The picketers retreated and telephoned for reinforcements from the nearby city of Solo.

Later that day, the now larger group returned and occupied the courthouse's foyer, where a protest declaration was read. They then peacefully withdrew. Ten PRD activists walking back to the PRD office were again attacked by police. Five activists, two women and three men, were beaten with cane rods until they were black and blue.

On June 18, a small group of PRD activists in Yogyakarta went to visit prisoners in the local prison who had voted for the PRD. While they were waiting for other activists to arrive, several well-built men dressed in civilian clothes attacked them with iron bars and pieces of wood with protruding nails. Some carried samurai swords.

PRD leader Fiaz Mansur received a head injury. PRD activist Aditya was caught against the prison gates and beaten severely. She was rushed to hospital.

The Yogyakarta PRD has been subjected to regular attacks during the election campaign. The office was stoned and many phone threats were made. Leaflets have also been distributed accusing the PRD of defacing the banners and flags of the National Awakening Party in an attempt to provoke clashes.

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