Fri, 03 Mar 2000

Rival drivers brawl over rides

BANDUNG: A melee erupted between Damri intercity bus drivers and drivers of illegal public transportation vehicles on Thursday morning, causing the destruction of at least four vehicles.

The brawl was a spillover of discord between the two groups, which ply the same route.

The Damri drivers claim the other drivers are illegally running public transportation services by using small minivans.

The clash lasted about two hours and left hundreds of commuters stranded.

The melee was reportedly sparked when a Damri bus driver, M. Sobar, 40, was stopped by minivan drivers and threatened with a sickle.

The attack was part of the minivan drivers' protest over a local newspaper report that their business was illegal.

About 100 Damri drivers held a protest later in the afternoon at the Bandung City Council to demand councillors and the local administration halt the illegal minivan services.

They claimed the drivers were backed by certain military personnel. (01/25)