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Jakarta Post

Unidentified group attacks transgender rally, injures 4

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Sat, November 22, 2014   /  11:36 am

A Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) rally held on Thursday evening at the Tugu Yogyakarta monument area turned sour after a group of unknown assailants attacked the event, injuring four participants.

Witnesses said the attackers were mostly skinny, dark-skinned men with pierced ears. They arrived at the venue at about 9:15 p.m., after the event itself had finished, and took away banners from rally participants.

'€œThen they dragged, kicked and pushed the rally participants,'€ Mario Pratama of the Yogyakarta Women'€™s Network (JPY), which organized the rally, said at the Yogyakarta Police headquarters on Friday.

Mario was at the police headquarters to file a report on the attack. Accompanying Mario were the four injured rally participants as well as lawyers from the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH).

Mario said that many of the participants of Thursday'€™s rally managed to flee from the scene, but four were left behind and were beaten by the angry attackers.

The injured participants asked to be identified only as AL, BER, MUS and HA. Of the four, AL sustained the worst injuries as his left hand was fractured and the back of his head was hurt.

Prior to the incident, a message calling for a move to dismiss the rally was reportedly circulated through the Blackberry Messenger application. The Jakarta Post received the broadcast message on Thursday after the incident occurred.

Mario expressed concern over the incident, saying that the violence was at odds with the spirit of the rally, which was dedicated to remembering transgender people who died as a result of hate crime.

He said the JPY held the rally in Yogyakarta because Indonesia was among countries with the highest number of cases of violence against the transgender community.

Quoting research, Mario said that 85 percent of the transgender community had experienced violence during the period of 2011'€“2012.

After filing the report, scores of JPY activists staged a rally on the grounds of the Yogyakarta Police headquarters. They carried placards bearing letters that read '€œJogja Ora Aman, Jogja Intoleran'€ (Yogya is not safe, Yogya is intolerant) when joined together.

Tia Setiyani, also an activist with the JPY, said the violence against the TDOR rally participants tarnished the spirit of the TDOR, human rights, diversity and the status of Yogyakarta as a city of tolerance.

'€œThe JPY calls on the Yogyakarta Police to thoroughly investigate the case and not to commit omissions against violence against LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people],'€ Tia said.

Woman activist Budi Wahyuni, who was recently elected as a commissioner for the 2015-2019 National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said she was fed up with cases of violence in Yogyakarta that were left unaddressed.

'€œThis is a challenge for the Yogyakarta Police chief to finish the case,'€ Budi said.

In response, Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Oerip Subagyo said the police would investigate the case if they were presented with evidence.

The transgender community in Yogyakarta has faced numerous challenges in recent months.

In September, the University of Sanata Dharma (USD) decided to cancel a seminar on LBGT issues following threats from the Islamic People'€™s Forum (FUI).

The FUI threatened to shut down the seminar by force, claiming that the event would propagate the spread of homosexuality, which, it said, violated Islamic values and social morality.

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