Sun, 14 Jan 2001

City police ready for week of demonstrations

JAKARTA (JP): Security has been beefed up to anticipate mass demonstrations in Jakarta beginning Sunday, but many have expressed doubt at the police's ability to prevent disasters occurring in the capital, such as a reoccurrence of the Christmas Eve bombings.

Under the Sadar Jaya I Operation, 40,000 Indonesian Military (TNI) troops and police officers will be deployed to secure the capital during certain dates that are considered crucial.

In an interview with The Jakarta Post on Saturday, city police chief Insp. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman spoke of the crucial dates on which trouble is expected, the complications police might face concerning bomb explosions and the 24 hour-alert security measures adopted by the police and the military.

"Scores of members of the Hizbullah Front arrived in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, on Saturday. There are several such organizations which might organize rallies in the coming days. But I'm sure the police can control this," Mulyono said.

"Thousands of NU supporters have also arrived in the capital ... we expect everything to go smoothly over the next few days."

Chief of Staff of Jakarta Garrison Brig. Gen. TB Hasanuddin confirmed that there had been an influx of people entering the capital, citing the ongoing celebration of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), the meeting of the Hizbullah Front and the national meeting of the Corps of Alumni of the Indonesian Muslim Students Association (KAHMI).

"We'll pay extra attention to critical sites such as downtown Kota in West Jakarta, telecommunication offices, embassies, the State Palace and the House of Representatives/People's Consultative Assembly (DPR/MPR) building," Hasanuddin said.

Meanwhile, Mulyono said that starting from Sunday, security will be stepped up at the Semanggi cloverleaf; the Taman Ria flyover; the Pulau Dua restaurant in Senayan; the gates around the MPR/DPR complex; the roads around the Taman Ria Senayan Park; Manggala Wanabhakti building, which is located behind the MPR/DPR building; the Senayan shooting range opposite the MPR/DPR complex; the presidential palace; the Attorney General's Office and state electricity company PLN installations.

Security, Mulyono said, would also be increased at places of worship, the business districts of Glodok in West Jakarta, Pasar Baru and Senen in Central Jakarta, and residential areas in Pluit, North Jakarta.

"I have also coordinated with all possible groups of protesters, including with some radical Muslim organizations here. I have ordered police stations and substations to do the same with groups in their areas."

On Sunday, PDI Perjuangan will celebrate its anniversary with a mass movement across the capital.

The possibility of unrest will heighten on Jan. 15 with a rumored mass demonstration of supporters of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Muslim organization, along with the Indonesian Muslim Students Movement (PMII) -- NU's student wing -- who have arrived from all over Java in a show of support for President Abdurrahman Wahid. Anti-Abdurrahman protesters are also expected to demonstrate on Jan. 15.

However, PMII chairman Nusron Wahid said on Saturday that the organization had decided not to hold a mass gathering at the Senayan eastern parking lot on Monday as earlier planned.

"We've decided to postpone the gathering until the situation returns to normal. So PMII cannot be held responsible if there is any anarchic action on Monday," he told a media conference at the NU secretariat.

He said that PMII had found that outsiders were masquerading as members of Banser, the security task force of Ansor, the NU's youth wing.

"We found 30,000 pairs of Banser uniforms in Kebayoran Baru. These uniforms were ordered by a man named Bondan Gunawan," Nusron said, quoting the tailor who made the uniforms.

Bondan, however, responded by suggesting that PMII should back up its accusation with evidence.

On Jan. 16, the House of Representatives (DPR) special commission is scheduled to hear the testimony of Suwondo, the President's former masseur, in the Rp 35 billion State Logistics Agency (Bulog) scam.

On Jan. 17, the President is scheduled to answer the special commission's questions concerning the Bulog and the Brunei financial scams, in which he has been implicated.

When asked whether the city police's investigation into the Christmas Eve bombings had indicated the involvement of a particular organization, the initial name of which starts with "P", Mulyono did not give a straight answer.

Nineteen people were killed in the blasts.

"I don't believe it is only one organization. The police are studying documents found in the home of a primary suspect at large, which states the names of at least two prominent people involved in the bombings." (ylt)