Sat, 02 Dec 2000

'Police must prevent attacks on entertainment centers'

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso asked the city police on Friday to stop the rampant attacks on entertainment centers during the fasting month of Ramadhan.

"I'm very disappointed with the attacks because when I ordered the closure of the nightspots during Ramadhan I had considered the interests of all parties.

"The police should have done their jobs and put an end to such attacks," he said.

"All parties should respect each other, especially since I have considered their (the attacking group's) demand. At least they should respect my decision," he added.

Sutiyoso reminded that, although the city administration had established the tripartite security system, involving officers from the police, the military and city public order officials, it was still the responsibility of the police to arrest those who commit acts of violence.

"The tripartite system cannot handle all security problems, as it's the police who have the authority to capture the criminals and is responsible for maintaining peace and order in the capital," he said.

The governor did not name specific groups behind the attacks, but was most likely referring to a series of violent raids conducted by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) over recent days.

Following pressure from Muslim groups and six City Council factions, Governor Sutiyoso announced on Nov. 23 that nightspots must close during Ramadhan, Idul Fitri and Christmas.

FPI attacks on nightspots have intensified during Ramadhan following their pledge to burn down establishments which continue to operate during the fasting month.

The group usually arm themselves with long wooden sticks, swords, daggers and other sharp weapons for the raids.

On Wednesday FPI raided the MW bar and the Ratu Ayu bar on Jl. Tubagus Angke in Wijaya Kusuma subdistrict, West Jakarta, despite the bars being closed at the time of the attack.

Earlier on Thursday, Jakarta Police spokesman Supt. Anton Badrul Alam said the police had yet to make any arrests over the attack, but planned to summon the FPI chief for an interview.

Muslim leaders have condemned the raids on various entertainment centers, saying that the group does not represent the entire Muslim community, and urge the police to arrest those responsible.

Separately, the Jakarta Tourism Agency chief, Parlindungan Hutabarat, said many businessmen were afraid to open their businesses here because the police could not provide adequate security.

"They are scared because of the attack. The police should be responsible for it.

"Do the police understand that the series of attacks will make people close their businesses in the capital?" Parlindungan said with a high tone. (dja)