INDONESIA: Protests commemorate 1996 crackdown

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INDONESIA: Protests commemorate 1996 crackdown

Protest actions took place in several Indonesian cities on July 27 to commemorate the 1996 attacks on the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) and the crackdown on the People's Democratic Party (PRD) that followed.

The PDI-P and the PRD organised separate demonstrations. In Jakarta, the PRD participated in protests organised by coalitions involving the most militant sections of the radical democratic forces. In Jakarta, the demonstration was led by PRD chairperson Budiman Sujatmiko. In Semarang, the protest was led by leading PRD member Dita Sari.

In Yogyakarta and in East Java, PRD-initiated demonstrations were attacked by baton-wielding thugs. In Yogyakarta, 18 students and a journalist were beaten.

Both PRD coalition and PDI-P demonstrations called for action to be taken against figures involved in the 1996 crackdown. Some activists called for the banning of former dictator Suharto's party, Golkar.

In Jakarta, there were tensions between the PDI-P and the PRD-initiated coalitions. Several hundred radical activists called on the PDI-P members not to allow Megawati Sukarnoputri's leadership to do a deal with Golkar. There have been rumours that PDI-P and Golkar are hatching a deal to replace Abdurrahman Wahid as president, prevent the prosecution of corrupt Suharto-era officials, stop the repeal of the law banning Marxism-Leninism and reverse the push towards a federal political structure.

The tensions rose particularly when pro-Jakarta East Timorese militia gang leader Eurico Guterres joined the PDI-P demonstration.

BY MAX LANE