Police sabotage Papernas mass meeting in Makassar

Kompas – October 30, 2007
Papernas members hold rally in Makassar (Antara)
Papernas members hold rally in Makassar (Antara)

Makassar, Kompas – On the morning of Monday October 29, police officers from the East Makassar district police in South Sulawesi sabotaged a planned meeting of the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) that was to be held at the Makassar Bhumibhakti Adhiguna Public Hall. Police said that meeting organisers did not have a permit.

In the end, the meeting that was initially planned to run for two hours and take up the theme of the Spirit of the 1928 Youth Pledge, was trimmed down to just a 20 minute speech. Because it was guarded by scores of police officers, the mass of Papernas supports – the majority of which were housewives – were only able to stand in front of the entrance to the building and listen to a speech by Papernas presidential candidate Dita Indah Sari.

In her speech, Dita condemned the police’s actions saying that it violated the 1945 Constitution on citizen’s freedom of assembly and association. At the end of the speech, Dita asked that the scores of people gathered outside disburse immediately.

In relation to the incident, East Makassar District Police Chief Deputy Senior Commissioner Kamaruddin said that police had only been following regulations. The organisers of the meeting did not have a permit so the Papernas meeting was illegal.

Dita however believes that the prohibition by police had absolutely no basis because the organisers of the even had already sent a written notification to the Greater Makassar Regional Police and the East Makassar District Police Chief. She said that the prohibition is part of a systematic attempt to sabotage Papernas activities, particularly in Makassar and South Sulawesi. “We will be submitting a complaint over the matter”, said Dita.

In the past, attempts to prevent Papernas activities from going ahead have often occurred in Java. Obstruction has not just come from police, but also from mass organisations that accuse Papernas of having a communist ideology and say that the organisation should banned. (DOE)

[Translated by James Balowski.]