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Jakarta Post

PDI-P members report burning of party's flag to police

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 27, 2020   /   08:29 am
PDI-P members report burning of party's flag to police Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the fifth PDI-P congress in Sanur, Bali. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Members of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) from across the country have reported to the police in their respective regions an incident in which the party’s flag was burned during a rally on Wednesday.

Held during a period of transition from large-scale social restrictions to a “new normal” of relaxed restrictions amid the COVD-19 pandemic, the rally was staged by Islamist groups to reject a bill initiated by the House of Representatives on Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) in Jakarta.

The groups called on the House to drop the bill, saying it would open the door to the reemergence of communist ideology in the country.

PDI-P chairman Megawati Sukarnoputri issued an authorization on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, for its members to take legal action over the incident.

"We should unite! Take legal action, strengthen unity with the people,” Megawati, who served as the country's fifth president, said.

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Responding to Megawati's letter, the PDI-P executive board and at least five regional branches reported the incident to the police on Friday. The branches included those in Bekasi and Depok, West Java, and the Thousand Islands branch in Jakarta.

"We are forced to take legal steps and report the incident to law enforcement officials for various acts of violence and defamation carried out by persons who have violated our democratic spirit," said PDI-P executive Ahmad Basarah.

Senior PDI-P politician Tjahjo Kumolo, who serves as the administrative and bureaucratic reform minister, has called on members of the party to report the incident to the police.

Videos circulating online show rally participants burning the PDI-P flag and the flag of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), which was disbanded after being accused of being responsible for the coup against president Sukarno, Megawati's father, and the killing of six Army generals in 1965, an incident that led to the rise of Soeharto.

Read also: Muslim preacher accused of calling PDI-P members communists acquitted

In 1966, Soeharto declared communism the nation’s ideological pariah. Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly Decree No. 25/1966 banned communism in Indonesia, and this was later reaffirmed through People’s Consultative Assembly Decree No. 1/2003.

The decree was not included in the Pancasila ideology bill, which sparked the Islamist groups' opposition to it.