Anti-militarist demo attacked by anti-Communists in Yogya

Source – October 1, 2004
National Student League for Democracy rally (Mikan News)
National Student League for Democracy rally (Mikan News)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – A demonstration rejecting militarism and demanding the abolition of the military’s territorial commands1 by activists from the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) ended in a clash after it was broken up by members of the Indonesian Anti-Communist Front (Front Anti Komunis Indonesia, FAKI). One of the LMND activist who was caught by FAKI members became a target of their anger while the other students scattered and ran for safety.

The clash occurred at 11.30am on Friday October 1 at the Ngejaman intersection on Jalan Reksobayan in Yogyakarta, Central Java, some 100 metres from the headquarters of the Pamungkas 072 sub-district military command (Koramil). At the time some 50 or so LMND activist had wanted to hold an action in front of Koramil but before it could take place they were intercepted and attacked by around 10 FAKI members armed with wooden clubs, bamboo sticks and iron bars.

When the LMND activist realised they had been cut off the activists scattered and ran for safety. Several FAKI members chased them waving clubs and sticks. One activist who was caught in the southern section of the Beringharjo market parking lot was immediately set upon and repeatedly beaten and kicked until they fell to the ground.

The other activists disappeared in an easterly direction alongside the Beringharjo parking lot and to the south in the direction of the post office on the intersection of Jalan Senopati. Posters, banners and flags with symbols of Jaker (People’s Cultural Network) which had been abandoned in front of the March 1 SO Monument were immediately trodden on and torn apart by FAKI members.

Other FAKI members meanwhile continued to chase after activists who were still carrying LMND flags and who had retreated into a shopping centre around 500 metres from the location where the clash occurred.

As they were tearing up and stomping on the posters they expressed their displeasure with shouts of “where are their pictures of the hammer and sickle, there must be pictures of the hammer and sickle”. “This is the work of the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party], Jaker is an underbouw of the PKI and must be fought”, said FAKI Yogyakarta leader Burhanuddin as they set fire to flags with symbols of Jaker.

Prior to the clash the LMND activists had held an action at the Gajah Mada University roundabout which had begun at 9.30am after which they held a “long-march” towards the intersection at the Yogyakarta Monument on Jalan Mangkubumi followed by speeches at the gates of the Yogyakarta provincial parliament on Jalan Malioboro.

In addition to rejecting militarism, they also demanded the abolition of the military’s territorial military commands including Kodam, Korem, Kodim, Koramil and Babinsa along with the repeal of the law on the TNI (armed forces) which has recently been enacted by the People’s Consultative Assembly. They also called for the TNI to return to the barracks, the withdrawal of non-organic troops from Aceh and West Papua as well as the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

They also condemned the government of incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the incoming government of president-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and vice-president-elect Jusuf Kalla who they said had only created a coalition of the elite rather than a people’s coalition2. “SBY and Kalla are a reflection of an administration which is militaristic and neoliberal so it is already clear that they won’t side with the ordinary people”, said Hilman Afriandi in a speech. (nrl)


1. The TNI’s territorial command structure mandates the deployment of military command posts and detachments at all levels of the civil administration: provincial, district, sub- district and village. This structure provides the organisational framework for the TNI to act as a political security force at all levels of society. The five respective commands are: Kodam – Komando Daerah Militer, Regional Military Command; Korem – Komando Resort Militer, Military Command at a level below the residency; Kodim – Komando Distrik Militer, District Military Command; Koramil – Komando Rayon Militer, Sub-District Military Command (Kecamatan) level and; Babinsa – Bintara Pembina Desa, Noncommissioned military officer posted in villages and wards and affiliated with the civilian administration.

2. In an attempt to bolster her flagging electoral campaign in the lead up to the second-round of the presidential elections on September 20, 2004, incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle formed an electoral alliance with the former state ruling party Golkar and several other established political parties called the Nationalist Coalition (Koalisi Kebangsaan). In response, presidential front-runner Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and running mate Jusuf Kalla declared what they called the People’s Coalition (Koalisi Rakyat) which they tried to promote as a so-called coalition between the SBY/Kalla team and the ordinary people and their desire for change which was contrasted against the Nationalist Coalition which many saw as little more than an alliance between the political elite to maintain the status quo.

[Translated by James Balowski.]