Sat, 11 Nov 2000

Protesting street vendors lower flag

BOGOR (JP): The protest staged by some 200 street vendors in front of the Bogor mayoralty office on Friday turned into a heated argument with the office staff after some of the angry traders lowered the national red and white flag hoisted at the mayoralty office yard.

However no clashes occurred as the protesters, who were demanding the authorities allow them to resume their businesses at the Bogor market, agreed to raise the flag again.

"This demonstration will not be tolerated anymore. How dare they lower the flag. It is okay to stage such a protest here but they should respect the national flag," said Sam, one of the mayoralty's officials.

The protest was initiated by the People's Right Enforcer Youth Front (FPHHR). The protesters claimed that some officials had collected Rp 265,000 from each vendor for the space to display their merchandise. They now wanted their money returned.

"We regret the lowering of the flag. I was chatting with the other protesters when the incident took place ... but the flag had been quickly raised back," Eeng, the leader of the protest, said.

Bogor Regional Police chief Sr. Supt. Taufik Ridha said he had ordered his men to investigate the motives behind the lowering of the flag. (21/edt)