Mon, 15 May 2000

Events to mark 'May Tragedy'

JAKARTA (JP): Six groups consisting of victims of state violence and the Volunteer Team for Humanity are holding a series of events this month to commemorate tragic incidents in the nation's recent past, particularly the May 1998 riots.

Woman activist Karlina Leksono Supelli, spokesperson for the events' organizer, the Victims Association, said on Saturday the events were being held to remind society about the victims and to reiterate to the government that the cases were still unsolved.

"Although the six events are coinciding with the May 1998 tragedy, they also speak for the violent acts and human rights abuses conducted by the government in other areas, such as Aceh, Maluku, Irian and East Timor.

"The events will cover (the stories of the) victims of fired workers, farmers whose lands were taken away, women and children and the poor," she said in a statement.

Most of the events will be held at or near the sites of tragedies, such as the Semanggi shootings near Atma Jaya University and shopping centers that were damaged or burned during the May riots.

The events began on Saturday with a dialogue at Atma Jaya University and an art performance and long march in Klender, East Jakarta.

The Humanity Forum will carry out an open discussion on May 20 in the parking lot of the newly renovated Slipi Jaya shopping center, with an informal discussion at the Bangau Raya Community Hall in Depok on the following day.

A theatrical work will be performed on May 27 in Tangerang, and a musical performance will close the events on May 28 at Pasar Minggu Community Hall in South Jakarta.

A film about the tragedies, which contributed to the downfall of president Soeharto, will also be shown during the final event.(01)