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Police close down May 1998 event following threats my Islamic militia group

Tempo.co - May 27, 2017

Ahmad Rafiq, Surakarta – A People's Ceremonial Stage to remember the May riots in the Central Java city of Solo was unable to show the documentary film "The May 1998 Tragedy" after police requested that the organising committee cancel the event planned for the evening of May 26.

An art performance also had to be cut short because the situation had become quite heated after several unidentified men arrived at the event and demanded that it be closed down.

The event was being held at the Djoeang 45 Building by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and several other groups.

In addition to the film showing, the event was also to have a music performance, poetry readings and speeches. "The police arrived and asked that the event be canceled", Kontras activist Indah Nurmasari told Tempo at the location.

According to Indah, the police said that the event was at risk because a social organisation (ormas) was planning to descend on the location. After negotiations, the police finally allowed the event to continue on the condition that several items be canceled such as the film showing and speeches. The event finally took place with a music performance.

Around five minutes before this was to begin, several men entered and began shouting that the event had to be closed down. Police quickly removed the men from the venue.

This made the organisers decide to end the event particularly since a group of people had gathered outside the venue. "We were surprised, why would an event like this come under such pressure", said Indah. Yet Kontras had already provided police with notification of the event.

Surakarta (Solo) Islamic Community Militia (LUIS) spokesperson Endro Sudarsono, who was at the venue, claimed that he did not know the identity of the men who demanded the event be closed.

"I just came here along with three friends", he said. According to Sudarsono he did not know what the event agenda was. "So we came here to see", he said.

Sectoral police chief Deputy Commissioner Nur Prasetyantoro, declined to comment when Tempo spoke to him at the venue. "Sorry, I'm not authorised to make a statement", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Ditekan Aparat, Pemutaran Film Tragedi Mei 1998 Batal".]

Source: https://m.tempo.co/read/news/2016/05/27/058774598/ditekan-aparat-pemutaran-film-tragedi-mei-1998-batal.

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