Pattimura Day Riot Injures 50 in Indonesia’s Ambon

By webadmin on 07:15 pm May 15, 2012
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Fifty people were hospitalized in Ambon on Tuesday after a Pattimura Day commemoration there turned violent.
No one was killed, according to reports, but at least three people were “critically injured,” a local hospital official said.

“Three patients are in fairly critical condition and are currently undergoing surgeries. But, no one has died,” Ita Sabrina, spokeswoman for Haulussy Hospital, said on Tuesday in Ambon.
Twenty-four people are undergoing treatment at Haulussy, 11 people are at Bhakti Rahayu Hospital, eight are at Sumber Hidup Hospital and seven are at Alfatah Hospital, all of which are located in Ambon.

The violence started on Tuesday morning during the official ceremony for Pattimura Day, which named after a national independence hero of Ambonese origin whose full name is Thomas Matulessy. Pattimura is depicted on Indonesia’s 1,000 rupiah note.

The ceremony involved a “Pattimura torch,” carried by a dance troupe performing the traditional cakalele dance. As a symbolic gesture, the torch was supposed to be transferred from residents of Batumerah village to those of Mardika village in a symbolic gesture, but at that point a brawl erupted among people watching the parade on the side of the street.

Someone threw the torch into the crowd, injuring some people and setting off a larger riot.

Besides the injuries, dozens of automobiles and a few houses were set on fire.
Security officers managed to end the clash. Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu said his administration would fix the damage and pay for the victims’ medical treatment.

Some people were reportedly hurt by stones, other sharp objects, and shrapnel from explosives that were thrown by unknown persons.