Crackdown in Indonesia: Report from Front Anti-Fascist (FAF) Bandung

New laws are being introduced, legitimising state terror against resistance groups. Front Anti-Fascist (FAF) Bandung are fighting back.

Article from Black Flag #219 (2000)

Submitted by Fozzie on January 20, 2021

Last August, workers went on strike at the PT Rimba Aristama factory in Bandung. One of the strikers, Juju Juliyah, went on hunger strike because she and several other workers had been fired by the factory owner for their activities. Several day later Juju Juliyah died. She died for her beliefs, yet neither the factory management, the government nor the media has shown any concern over the tragedy.

On September 4th, FAF organised a demonstration in solidarity with Juju Juliyah and her fellow workers' struggle. SBI(Indonesian Labour Solidarity) a labour organisation, GMIP, and FMD the radical student organisation also attended. The demonstration began outside the university building in Bandung with speeches. When enough people had gathered they marched through the slum districts, handing out leaflets in the streets. They then made their way to the national radio station headquarters to demand (amongst other things) that they cover Juju's case. But the radio station called in the army and the police to remove the demonstrators. One army truck parked up behind the building together with two trucks full of armed riot cops.

The demonstrators decided to march on to the city hall, only to find the building closed in anticipation of their arrival. Thirty or so demonstrators responded by trying to break down the doors. Again, the cops arrived and prepared to attack the demonstration. The demonstrators responded by making speeches in front of the building, managing to attract enough people's attention to avoid a beating from the cops.

On 13 Sept. about 100 people occupied a local government building to demand abolition of new laws (due to be signed up to on 28th September) that legitimise the use of military force against resistance movements opposed the government and the state. The law legitimises kidnapping, violence, even murder as tools to deal with resistance movements and their members. Demonstrators also made speeches outside the building and handed out leaflets. Those inside stated that they would refuse to leave until the government responded to their demands but that evening more than 500 anti-riot cops entered the building to forcibly evict the occupation.

The next morning more than 500 people gathered outside the building and tried to get back inside. Despite the efforts of 50 riot cops to hold them back, the crowd managed to re-enter the building and once inside made speeches. Eventually local government spokesmen arrived to speak to the occupiers and promised to raise the issue of the new laws with the government. Having achieved their short term aim, the demonstrators left and marched to the national radio headquarters to demand that their message be broadcast over the airwaves. There they were met by riot cops who attacked the demonstrators.

Fleeing the riot cops, they moved on to march to KODAM (a military base) where they damaged a statue outside. When soldiers prepared to attack the demonstration, they marched back to the parliament building. Demands for the government to abolish the new laws were met, again, by 500 riot cops, whose chief tried to negotiate with the demonstrators. There was a battle with the police at 10pm that night when riot cops tried to move them on. Molotovs were thrown and the cops responded with a street blackout (all streetlights were turned off). The cops got very heavy and fired at the demonstrators and many were beaten up badly. Those that escaped moved on to the UNPAD(padjadjaran university) building, and decided to stay there 'til the morning. Four demonstrators were caught by the army outside the building, but released the next day.

On 17 Sept. a chief of the Indonesian military, Wiranto, was due to arrive in Bandung to speak about the new laws against resistance movements. Demonstrators organised to prevent him speaking and to raise public awareness of the new laws. Actions also took place in Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

Several days later further demonstrations took place in Bandung - demonstrators graffitied the local government building, collected signatures for a petition and handed out thousands of leaflets. On 22 September nearly 1000 people gathered in front of the local government building and there were further clashes with the police - this was the last government meeting before the new laws were to be signed and approved. Attempts were made to force the radio station to broadcast their message and windows were smashed at the radio headquarters.

The next day the demonstrators successfully occupied the government building again and were able to broadcast their case over the airwaves for 15 minutes. They held the building all night and set up a stage at the front from which to make speeches. The following morning they closed the road in front of the building and attacked any military vehicles that tried to pass. They showed videos of the previous year's shooting tragedy in front of the Trisakti university to the public and held the building until the following morning.

FAF still want books or other information on anarchist / class struggle politics

All correspondence should be sent to P.O.BOX 1853 Bandung 40018 West Java - Indonesia (do not address mail to FAF as it will be censored - simply send to the PO Box with no name).

Indonesian Anarchist Federation Formed

The first gathering of the Janringan Anti-Fasis (JAF) anti-fascist network was held in December 1999 in Yogyakarta. It is a new anarchist orientated network of radical youth groups in Indonesia. Also known as JAF Nusantara, because "Nusantara" is the ancient name of Indonesia (a geographical description) which means islands in-between two great oceans, the Indian and the Pacific.

The JAF can be emailed at [email protected]; or write to JAF, c/o ISI, Gampingan No. 1, Wirobrajan, Yogyakarta.