Bandung’s Ultimus Bookstore raided, activists arrested.
Ucok Homicide, Dhani Beyond The Barbed Wire, Pam Runtah & other activists, musicians & writers were arrested at the Ultimus Bookstore, Bandung last night.
Below is a message relayed to us by Kid Propamedia on the IM just now:
“Malam Tadi diskusi soal Marxisme di toko buku Ultimus dibubarkan oleh Pemuda Panca Marga (PPM). beberapa peserta diskusi dan pembicara, bah kan moderator ditangkap dan dipukuli oleh PPM dan aparat Polwiltabes Bandung. Toko Buku milik LSM AK3 ini kemudian disegel oleh polisi. Sungguh Orde Baru!!”
– that is taken from a posting on the DRS mailing list, statement made by “Rezki Perdana” last night
“A discussion on Marxism at the Ultimus Bookstore was disrupted by the Pemuda Panca Marga (PPM). Several speakers and other participants in the talk was beaten up and arrested by the PPM and officers from Polwiltabes Bandung. The bookstore which is owned by LSM AK3 was later sealed shut by the Police. So much for the Orde Baru (New Order).”
It’s not clear how many were arrested and whether anyone of them or all of them has or have been released. As we await for more news, here’s what we’ve come up with in terms of who are the perpetrators and the questions arising from the news:
1. What is PPM or Pemuda Panca Marga?
Here’s a report on the PPM or Pemuda Panca Marga on kabar-irian.com in May 2003:
Pemuda Panca Marga (the youth wing of Army veterans) is notorious for its involvement in protection rackets and intimidation of pro-democracy activists.
Made up of the sons of soldiers, the civilian paramilitary group is affiliated to the former ruling Golkar Party and has often been involved in incidents of pro-government violence.
In November 1998, Pemuda Panca Marga members were deployed outside the national parliament building to counter protests made by pro-democracy activists. Dressed in military fatigues and armed with rattan sticks, the thugs threatened to attack protesters demanding democratic reforms.
In August 1999, the United Nations mission in East Timor rejected applications by several military-linked youth groups, including Pemuda Panca Marga, to send observers to East Timor’s referendum on independence, fearing their presence would lead to violence.
In March 2002, when thousands of students and workers staged demonstrations demanding a special parliamentary investigation into parliament speaker Akbar Tanjung’s embezzlement of Rp40 billion in state funds, Pemuda Panca Marga thugs, some of them armed with sharp weapons, were deployed to oppose the protesters.
2. What is Polwiltabes Bandung?
According to an on-line dictonary of terms, Polwiltabes is “Kepolisian Wilayah Kota Besar” or the Municipal District Police.
apparently this means; segel = “seal”, disegel = “sealed”, meaning forcefully shut down by the authority.