(en) Indonesian Trade Unionists Arrested

..p.j..lilley.. (pj@tao.ca)
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:38:05 +0000 (GMT)

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--------------------- Forwarded message: From: tw@web.net (Tony Wohlfarth, CAW - Canada)

Saturday September 20 1997 SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Indonesia Police storm banned trade union meeting

AGENCIES in Jakarta Anti-riot police stormed a congress meeting of the unrecognised Sejahtera Indonesia trade union yesterday and broke up the gathering after clashes, witnesses reported.

The security forces arrived several hours after the meeting had started in the union's headquarters in central Jakarta and detained at least nine members of the union, two Dutch journalists and two Australian unionists.

There were brief clashes between the police and sympathisers gathered outside the building, where the proceedings were being relayed by loudspeaker.

A Sejahtera lawyer said he and nine activists were being questioned by police.

A police lieutenant-colonel said the foreigners were "giving information in connection with their presence at a meeting which police were not notified of and did not give permission for". The journalists were later freed.

It was only the second congress held by Sejahtera since its first in July 1993 was banned by the police.

The congress was being held in the absence of the union's president, Muchtar Pakpahan, who is serving a four-year jail term for allegedly inciting a workers' riot in April 1994 in North Sumatra.

Pakpahan has been receiving treatment at a Jakarta hospital since March 1 for a benign tumour on his right lung. The Government has rejected his repeated requests to go abroad for medical treatment.

He is also being tried on subversion charges linked to mass riots in July 1996.

"Today, the second congress of SBSI is opening, after a long journey strewn with pebbles," the jailed leader said in an opening address which was read out on his behalf by an emotional Sunarti, the secretary-general of the union.

More than 100 people, including representatives from international trade unions and diplomats, crowded a back room at the union's headquarters after police denied it a permit to hold the congress at a hotel.

In his address, Pakpahan gave a brief history of what had happened to Sejahtera since its first congress in July 1993 was banned by the police.

He said that despite various problems, the union now had 99 chapters throughout the country and 12 sectoral organisations.

Back To Top Tony P Wohlfarth Canadian Auto Workers' Research Department Departemente de Recherche, TCA-Canada Departamento de Investigacion, Trabajadores Automotrices de Canada 205 Placer Court NORTH YORK, Ontario Canada M2H 3H9 E-mail tw@web.net Home Page http://www.caw.ca/caw/ FAX 416 495 6552


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