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Scores of weapons confiscated from Gus Dur supporters JAKARTA - Police seized hundreds of weapons and arrested 22 people as thousands of President Abdurrahman Wahid supporters from East Java arrived here on Tuesday. Jakarta Police Detective Chief Sr. Comr. Adang Rochana said the people were arrested at city bus terminals and railway stations for possessing illegal weapons. Police questioned an additional 100 people but later released them.
Adang said his officers had seized three huge sacks containing 500 weapons, including whips, swords, slingshots, rocks, machetes and sickles. The sacks were discovered in minibuses which arrived at the Pulogadung bus terminal in East Jakarta. He said that police also confiscated some 360 weapons from the Pondok Gede area of East Jakarta, including the Haj dormitory, where Gus Dur supporters had sought accommodation.
In Central Jakarta, Adang added, police arrested 17 people arriving at the Senen railway station, Central Jakarta, in possession of 28 sickles and machetes. Three people were also arrested in the vicinity of the House of Representatives/People's Consultative Assembly compound, for carrying 26 machetes. City police spokesman Sr. Comr. Anton Bachrul Alam said that over 9,000 people had arrived in the capital by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and this figure was expected to increase.
About 400 female supporters of President Abdurrahman from Surabaya, Probolinggo, Jombang and Pasuruan in East Java arrived at the Senen railway station, he said. The women are members of Fatayat, a female branch of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Muslim organization in East Java. "They have come here to protest the May 30 plenary session and show their support for Gus Dur," Anton said on Tuesday.
Separately, a group of people believed to be Abdurrahman supporters have been staying at an Islamic boarding school in Cisarua, in the mountainous Puncak resort area, Bogor regency. Bogor Police chief Sr. Comr. Taufik Ridha confirmed that the group had been staying at the boarding school for five days, but insisted that their presence was not connected with political tension in Jakarta.

Australia

Anton also said that representatives of the Australian Embassy met with city police Chief Insp. Gen. Sofjan Yacob on Tuesday, to reportedly discuss the possibility of evacuating the thousands of Australians currently residing here should the security situation worsen. "The city police chief assured the Australian representatives that, should security conditions worsen here to the extent of what happened during the bloody 1998 May riots, necessary precautions would be taken to evacuate foreigners and escort them to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport," Anton said.
The Australian Embassy, however, denied the report. It is not true that the Australian Embassy assesses the current situation in Jakarta as 'unsafe' and is planning to evacuate its citizens from Indonesia, according to a statement from the embassy. The embassy also denied that the Australian Ambassador had called the police chief to discuss the situation.
Embassy officers met the police to keep them well informed on issues affecting the Australian community, according to the statement. Meanwhile, Governor Sutiyoso appealed on Tuesday to his subordinates, mayors, subdistrict and district chiefs to stay alert. He also urged security authorities to take firm action against visitors who conduct violence in the capital.
City councillors supported the implementation of a maximum security alert in the city due to the current political tension. Councillor Posman Siahaan from the Justice and Unity Party also agreed that police should take stern action against rioters, including the issuance of orders to shoot-on-sight.



Posted in Protests @ 30 May 2001 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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