Archipelago

Kendal residents protest
FPI sweeps

A riot broke out in Ngrancah village in Sukorejo, Kendal, Central Java, when residents tried to block members of hard-line group the Islam Defenders Front’s (FPI) Temanggung branch, who intended on conducting a sweep in the village’s red light district on Thursday.

According to Kendal Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Asep Jenal, the FPI members started to carry out the sweep on Wednesday and had planned on doing another one on Thursday afternoon.

Residents said the FPI Temanggung members had no right to conduct such sweeps in their region.

The residents tried to block the FPI members, who reportedly arrived in cars, said Asep.

One car intentionally crashed into the residents, killing one resident and injuring three others.

Tri Munarti, 42, was dead upon arrival at Ngesti Waluyo hospital in Parakan, Temanggung, as result of a head injury.

The three other residents reportedly sustained fractures and bruises. One of the injured residents was Tri’s husband, Eko. The rest of the residents later set fire to a car to express their rage.

Police officers and Indonesian Military personnel have beefed up security in the area. "We are currently trying to facilitate a mediation [between the two parties],”said Asep.

As of Thursday evening, Central Java Police were still trying to evacuate the FPI members allegedly involved in the incident.

"We have also detained the person who allegedly crashed his car into the residents,” Central Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Djihartono told The Jakarta Post.

Previously, Central Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Dwi Priyatno called on hard-line groups to not conduct raids during Ramadhan. He suggested that residents report any disturbances to the police instead of handling the issues on their own.

On account of Ramadhan, the authorities issued a regulation calling on entertainment establishments, such as karaoke spots and night clubs, to limit operating hours or to temporary shut down operations in respect of the holy month.

Also on Thursday, the FPI’s Central Java branch pledged to not conduct sweeps on entertainment establishments during the fasting month.

"We won’t conduct sweeps during Ramadhan as long as the entertainment establishments obey the ruling,” said Central Java FPI Deputy head Zainal Abidin in Semarang, as quoted by Antara news agency.

The step, he said, was taken to alter the public’s perception of the FPI.

Zainal said that FPI would instead maintain communication with the police and report any violations to them. "We want to show people that the FPI is polite but is also tough at the same time,” Zainal added.

Meanwhile, FPI spokesman Munarman could not be reached for a comment on the Kendal riot.

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