Friday, April 06, 2007

FORAK 2 - It ain't Woodstock

Last year, a FORAK demonstration at BRR (the local Indonesian government branch responsible for the reconstruction here in Aceh) took place over a two week period in September. With up to 2000 demonstrators, a riot broke out and the FORAK leader was arrested and thrown in jail. He is now out on the streets and will undertake another ‘notified’ demonstration this Monday. That means we’ll be battening down the hatches and not visiting the area near BRR. To give you a little of the drama from last year, here is a news article taken from, (I'd provide the link, but it's all in bahasa Indonesian) September 20, 2006: (Thanks to Salmasteier for actually researching this information; I am doing nothing more than transferring data)

Banda Aceh, about a thousand of people who confessed themselves as tsunami victims last night (19/6) moved into Lueng Bata area. Last night, they even took Kuntoro as ‘hostage’. According to our reporter on the site the riot started when the protesters were forced to pull back by the police from the BRR compound. ‘Intifadha war’ then broke out. Police personnel chased the protesters. The Police were supported by their tactical vehicles equipped with water canon which were was used on the protesters. The Protesters blockaded the road of BRR with rocks and wood logs. People around the area then shut their shops and kiosks as they worried the protester might unload their anger. One car that was parked inside the compound was damaged. Roads were blocked by the police and the mass of people flooded in front of BRR’s office, they included women, children, and teenagers. Information received by Aceh Kita mentioned that it was organized by the Forak, Inter-Barrack Communication Forum, they tried to not allow Kuntoro to go home until their demands were fulfilled. M Yusuf the coordinator of the action said that in principal Forak’s demands were fulfilled by BRR such as: speed-up building houses, economy recovery. The Protesters also wanted the Forak coordinator to be part of BRR plus a financial incentive. According to Yusuf, the letter was signed by Kuntoro, however, they were not satisfied because they want the letter to be signed by both parties. “But BRR are disagree with it and still don’t see any middle way,” he said. “We are still want the letter to be signed by both parties, if its not happening, the crowd will stay and it is possible for mass will get larger” he said.

Banda Aceh, Director of Forak, Dr Raden Panji Utomo, main suspect of the organizer of rioting in BRR Office on Wednesday (19/9) has been reported as being in contact with police through the Chief of Banda Aceh Police mobile phone. In their conversation, Panji asks more time to prepare lawyer, and then hand over himself to police. “He has contacted me through my mobile, he will hand himself to police after he gets a lawyer,” Chief said. Meanwhile, six from eight people whose names are mentioned in the police’s letter has gone to police office for interrogation, as they were involved in the demonstration. Murniati, Darmawan, John Efendi, Pasmi Ilma, M Isa, and M Yusuf. “We’ve been called as the witnesses in that action,” M Yusuf said. However, there were seven supposed to be here, “one letter addressed to Irwandi we have no one named Irwandi but Irwan Jalil. But we don’t know which one is meant by them,” he said. Meanwhile, Chief Police of Banda Aceh, Zulkarnaen said that his side has questioned five people from Forak plus one from BRR. He explained that these people were questioned, as they knew what happened during the riot on the demonstration organized by Forak. Regarding Panji’s request to give time to prepare lawyer, Zulkarnaen told that police would do it based on the procedures. “He is not to be afraid to hand himself over to the police. The police are not going to do anything that people might feel worried about. The main thing is he needs to be responsible for his actions,” he said.

No comments: