Fri, 15 Dec 2000

FPI rallies at West Jakarta police precinct

JAKARTA (JP): Hundreds of members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) staged a silent protest in front of the West Jakarta Police precinct on Thursday, demanding that the police precinct chief resign over Monday's shooting of an FPI's car.

During the rally, FPI leader Tubagus M. Siddiq handed over a Holy Koran and a Criminal Code Procedure (KUHAP) book to West Jakarta Police chief Supt. Iwan Nurisman Ismet.

"Please read these books and learn them," Tubagus told Iwan.

FPI condemned the police shooting of a Kijang minivan that was carrying FPI members on Monday, which the group claims to have been driving peacefully.

No injury was reported from the shooting.

The FPI accused the police of having shot the car as an act of vengeance against the group who have been raiding several gambling places in the area which they claim to be condoned by the police.

The group also demanded that police personnel involved in the shooting be discharged immediately.

The group's arrival in the morning on several trucks and minivans immediately congested traffic on Jl. S. Parman and prompted hundreds of police personnel to stand guard in front of the precinct.

The group's peaceful demonstration was in contrast to their previous behavior where they reportedly violently raided several entertainment centers, destroying large amounts of equipment.

"We want to show the public that we don't always act violently," Tubagus told Iwan.

The group dispersed themselves peacefully after rallying for about one hour.

Police earlier reported that several personnel from the police precinct shot the tires of a truck loaded with FPI members who had just vandalized four game centers in the Taman Duta Mas shopping complex in Jelambar, West Jakarta.

The report said the police had tried to stop the group who had also reportedly tried to steal five air conditioner units and had held two employees before the group tried to escape.

"My men followed standard procedures. They gave the vehicle several warning shots in a bid to stop the vehicle," Iwan told reporters after the FPI members left.

"If they want me to resign then it's up to the Jakarta Police headquarters to decide. I'm ready to resign if the headquarters tells me so."

Separately, National Police chief Gen. Bimantoro said the police would continue to take stern measures against the FPI if the group continued raiding entertainment centers.

"If they keep on breaking the law, we will have to take appropriate action," Bimantoro told reporters after a graduation ceremony for 355 new police officers at the National Police headquarters.

Bimantoro also said that he held a meeting with FPI's chairman Rezik recently where the group leader promised not to do anything that was against the law. (jaw)