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Jakarta Post

Police disperse World Press Day event in Yogyakarta

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, May 4, 2016   /  09:26 pm
Police disperse World Press Day event in Yogyakarta Yogyakarta Police operational division head Corm. Sigit Haryadi (in uniform) leads a move to disperse a World Press Day event, marked by a planned screening of a movie titled Pulau Buru Tanah Air Beta (Buru Island My Motherland), directed by Rahung Nasution. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

The Yogyakarta Police dispersed members of the city's Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) as they attempted to commemorate World Press Day on Tuesday.

The commemoration was to be marked by a showing of the movie Pulau Buru Tanah Air Beta (Buru Island My Motherland), directed by Rahung Nasution.

The police were reportedly responding to pressure from the Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans' Children (FKPPI), an association of families of military and police veterans, who rejected the movie screening.

Yogyakarta Police officer Com. Sigit Haryadi said the screening had the potential to create conflict as local residents had rejected the event. Thus, the screening should be halted for security reasons, he explained. "It is also to protect the image of Yogyakarta as a city of tolerance," Sigit added.

The disbandment took place following pressure from a number of FKPPI youth members who visited the AJI headquarters along with the founder of the Indonesia Anti-Communist Front (FAKI), Burhanuddin, who is implicated in killings during the 1965 massacre.

Previously, Sigit visited the AJI Yogyakarta's office to meet with the committee, but he reportedly shouted at them and asked why the alliance had organized an event without informing the police, adding that the Yogyakarta Police chief demanded the event be halted.

FKPPI members and Burhanuddin himself, who stood in front of the AJI office, also clashed with members of the alliance, who were in turn supported by artists, university students and NGO activists.

Those opposing the screening accused the AJI committee and the activists of being communists.

Yogyakarta Police officers on Tuesday afternoon urged the committee to cancel the screening, which they claimed could contain communist teachings, adding that there had been no prior information about the movie.

Press Council commissioner Nezar Patria called Yogyakarta Police's intelligence and security division head Comr. Wahyu Dwi Nugroho in support of the event taking place, but he said he could not make a final decision as he had to follow commands.

The committee, however, insisted on making every effort for the event to take place, as canceling it would have smothered the commemoration of World Press Day.

"We only want to halt the event if there is an official disbandment from the police," said AJI Yogyakarta chairman Anang Zakaria.

The FKPPI and the local administration continued to pressure the committee until the police officially banned the screening, leading the committee to cancel it.

Anang said the committee had fought for its rights to the maximum, adding that they were not afraid as being scared only prolonged slavery.

However, Anang regretted that police officers had once again bowed down to pressure from intolerant groups.

"We had asked for permits from village officials and invited the Yogyakarta Police chief," Anang said.

The incident adds to a list of recent cases of intolerance that have occurred in Yogyakarta. (afr/bbn)

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