Wed, 31 Mar 1999

Three men injured in party supporters clash in C. Java

SEMARANG, Central Java (JP): At least three people were injured and one house destroyed when supporters of the United Development Party (PPP) and the National Awakening Party (PKB) clashed Monday evening in Pekalongan, Central Java.

The incident erupted when a group of PPP supporters passed along Jl. Raya Kartijan. An alleged group of PKB supporters pelted the PPP supporters with stones, wounding three.

The regency chairman of the PPP, Abdurrahman Tobari, deplored the incident, saying as Muslims supporters of the two parties should avoid violence.

"I have reported the incident to police. And I hope that PKB leaders will be able to control their supporters."

The chairman of PKB's local chapter, Bisri Romli, denied PKB party supporters were involved in the attack. He said supporters of another political party attacked the PPP supporters.

He said PKB members, affiliated with the Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic organization, recently suffered similar attacks when unidentified people ambushed their houses and damaged their cars.

"We do not want to clash with anyone, especially since all of us are Muslims. We want to compete fairly in the polls," Bisri said.

Separately in Semarang, the PKB, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Partai Damai Kasih Bangsa (Love The Nation Democratic Party) jointly launched an antiviolence campaign.

Organizer Ahmad Farid said the purpose of the campaign was to educate party supporters to remain united and tolerant of each other despite differences in political views.

"We will continue this campaign in other regencies in the province to prevent riots before and after the general election."

Meanwhile, Central Java Police chief Maj. Gen. Nurfaizi said on Tuesday police would launch a number of raids to confiscate illegal weapons and alcohol throughout the province ahead of the June 7 general election. The raids would be conducted to help prevent riots among supporters of the 48 political parties contesting the polls, he said.

Police also will step up street patrols and checks of new arrivals to the province. He said people arriving from other provinces were obliged to report to the nearest neighborhood chief within 24 hours of their arrival.

He said police had learned from the riots in the regencies of Cilacap and Kebumen late last year and would not repeat the same mistakes.

"There are indications this province is still quite vulnerable to provocateurs," Nurfaizi said in Purwokerto. (har/45/prb)