Police attack on National University campus a ‘slaughter’: Witness

Detik.com – May 24, 2008
Police attack student protest (Detik)
Police attack student protest (Detik)

Irwan Nugroho, Jakarta – The police attack on the University of Indonesia campus this morning has left those who witnessed it dumb founded after they watched hundreds of police officers surround some 50 or so students, who were then beaten, stripped naked and forced into trucks.

The incident started at around 5am when police tried to break up a demonstration by some 300 students on the university campus in the Pejaten area of South Jakarta. When police began beating and kicking the students, they fled in disarray with police in pursuit. Some were able to escape buy jumping over the campus fence while others were able to hide in buildings.

Fifty or so of the students however were not so lucky. Cornered by police with no chance to escape they stood their ground by sitting down on the ground.

“They held the sit down action so that police would stop the attack. But instead police formed a circle and as a mob beat us with truncheons and their shields”, said Baron, who succeed in escaping by jumping the fence from behind which he witnessed the incident. “It was a slaughter!”, he added.

Baron’s testimony was supported by a university security officer called Iwan who witnessed the attack from a forth floor toilet in a nearby building. “They were trampled on. Basically the police were totally sadistic”, recalled Iwan. “The student’s shirts were ripped off. They (the students) screamed for mercy”, he said.

Following the ‘slaughter’, along with some 100 other students, they were taken away in trucks to the South Jakarta district police headquarters. At 9am, the campus grounds was still littered with clothing, keys, motorcycle helmets, trousers and wallets. Drops of blood were visible in and around the vicinity.

Additional 40 arrested

At around mid-day the South Jakarta district police arrested an additional 40 students at the National University who are suspected of being involved in the demonstration overnight. Police had earlier arrested some 100 students.

“For now we have secured a total of 140 people”, said district police chief Inspector General Adang Firman in a joint press on Saturday May 24. As of 12noon, the 140 were undergoing intensive questioning by officials at the district police headquarters.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski from two reports in Detik.com on May 24.]