Activists Deny Anti-Corruption Rallies Are Designed to Overthrow Indonesian President

By webadmin on 11:59 am Dec 08, 2009
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Nivell Rayda

A number of activists on Tuesday refuted the government’s claims that rallies to mark World Anti-Corruption Day were designed to overthrow President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Earlier, the president said that he believed some people were planning to infiltrate Wednesday’s rallies and create riots. The claims were backed by the National Police intelligence unit, which said that the plan had been initiated during a meeting at Dharmawangsa Hotel.

“We believe that the government has made an incorrect assumption based on false data,” said Usman Hamid, a human rights activist with the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

“Police showed us the minutes of the meeting, which were completely different to the actual discussion. I don’t know where they had obtained such information, but it is completely untrue. We were just coordinating the rally and establishing the short and long term goals for the fight against corruption,” he said.

Usman also refuted police claims that former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Syafii Maarif from the Muslim organization Muhammadiyah and other prominent politicians had attended the Dharmawangsa meeting.

“I have cross checked police’s claims with those (people) mentioned and they were all shocked,” he said.

Fadjroel Rachman, from the Anti-Corruption Civil Society Coalition (Kompak), said that the president’s suspicions might have inspired people to actually override the peaceful rally for their own political agendas.

“That is why last Friday we submitted details of our plan and registered member organizations in the rally. This is to avoid the presence of illegal protesters and organizations. We truly appreciate police efforts to safeguard our peaceful rally and protect us from rival demonstrations and potential clashes,” Fadjroel said.

“We have an estimated attendence number of 20,000, including students and members of other non-governmental groups. We have told them to closely monitor their members to ensure that there won’t be any parties infiltrating the rally and provoking a riot,” he said.

Separately, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) interim chief Tumapk Hatorangan Panggabean said that the body would downsize its commemoration of World Anti-Corruption Day, opting for a humble and private ceremony.

Earlier the KPK was planning to stage a live concert as part of the celebration, inviting popular rock group Slank, known for its antigraft lyrics.

“This is not related to the president’s remarks. We feel that the Anti-Corruption Day should be marked with introspection and not celebration,” the KPK chief said.