By Dian Septi T
November 1, 2015
Photo: Jumisih (veiled middle), Lanang (left of Jumisih), Sahrul Godam (right of Jumisih), Ocul or Hasim (right of Sahrul) / source: FB
Friday, October 30, 2015
That night after the sound of tear gas, those of us on top of the FBTPI Commando Car (Asmir, Fresly Manulang, Gadis Merah, Sahrul Godam, and I) crouched down. I heard the sound of bamboo striking. I saw Asmir in pain, also Manulang. I was most worried about Jumisih, Gadis Merah, as she wasn’t next to me.
Photo: The police strike the FBTPI commando car with bamboo
"You! Get down! All of you get down from the car! Are you going to get down or not? You are dogs!" shouted several of the police around the FBTPI commando car while continuing to use the bamboo sticks. I looked at them. They were wearing brown shirts with brown pants. That was the first time I had seen that uniform. Then I saw Fresly Manulang wounded, blood flowing from his forehead. I braced myself and glanced towards the front seat of the Commando car. Jumisih was not there. I saw police hanging on to the commando car while kicking in the glass on the left side of the car. I remembered Galita who had been sitting in the passenger seat. I wondered if the little girl Aini was with her mother, Galita, there? Finally we decided to get off the commando car, the police were pulling us down. They punched Asmir’s right eye and hauled him down. Manulang was also punched on the head and dragged down. I was pulled down off the car but they did not punch me because I am a woman. Ironic isn’t it? I looked around again, there was no Jumisih, and what about Ari Widiastari, was he safe with his camera? What about Atin with her camera? How about the other comrades? Bamboo. FBLP, Godam, LPB, FSPMI, Forum PUK, SPSI, SPN and the others. I hold my bag tightly, handphone inside, so as not to allow it to be taken by the police.
The ‘crowd control police’ (Dalmas) car is the car I often see carrying Dalmas police forces. As I was being taken to the police car I could hear the policeman saying they will not do anything to me because I am a woman. In the crowd control police car I saw Galita, Pak Pujo, Novel and several other comrades I could not recognise because of the dark. Seeing me coming, Galita immediately greeted and hugged me. I asked about her daughter, Aini. Luckily, Galita had sent Aini home at around 17:00 pm, so when the police broke the windshield of the FBTPI Commando Car with bamboo, Aini was not with her mother.
A few minutes later, several police were carrying a man with a red-checked shirt. It was Obed, a public lawyer with the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta). He was punched repeatedly. His handphone was confiscated and the pictures of the demonstration were deleted. Obed looked very pale, he was put into the crowd control police car, into the seat directly in front of me. I held his hands tightly, I looked him in the eyes just to calm him, to let him know everything would be alright. A moment later, they struck him again on the head. Although Obed had already said he was from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, the police did not stop beating him.
Again, some police were carrying a man in a white shirt, beating and kicking him. They beat him black and blue, I saw him vomitting. When the man turned his head, I recognised his face. The face was familiar to me and probably to most of other workers. Tigor Hutapea, a public lawyer with LBH Jakarta. He was beaten repeatedly and kicked in the stomach. A policeman said "Hey, what did you photograph earlier? Where are the pictures? Delete them all” he said to others. Another policeman then began deleting all the photos of the demonstration. Then, the policeman checking Tigor’s handphone shouted: “Hey, look at this, in their WhatsApp, in a group chat he said that the Criminal Investigator (Reskrim) is a bastard.”
Another police officer shouted "Where? Where? How dare you say the Criminal Investigator is a bastard? You said that, didn’t you? You weren’t it?"
"... thump ... thump ... thump ..." repeatedly again Tigor was beaten and kicked until he was vomitting again.
"No, brother. It wasn’t me that said that. It’s a group chat, it was another person that said that.”
"Thump .. thump ... thump ... thump" Tigor’s answer was met with more punches.
"Brother… enough, stop punching." Galita and I said.
"Water… Give him water. He’s vomiting. Watch out if you dare to call the Criminal Investigator a bastard!"
I saw Obed pull out a blue water bottle. I saw him pull it out of a small brown bag.
Tigor drank it, then he was struck again on the head by a police officer.
"You Bastard ... you bastard!" said the police officer.
"Enough... enough “said another police officer.
After that, this gang of police started joking around. One of them sang the song Darah Juang [a song of struggle sung by workers at rallies] from start to finish. Laughing after finishing the song, the police officer stated.
"All of them are followers of Marsinah. Marsinah, you know... ha ha ha " [Marsinah was an activist and worker kidnapped, raped and killed in 1993]
We kept silent. I looked around at my comrades’ faces. I held Tigor’s hand and tried to comfort him.
Not long after that, another gang of police returned. This time with a young comrade with curly short hair, without a shirt, and without shoes. Only black jeans. This young comrade was beaten blindly, kicked in the stomach and the head. Punched in the face and the head. Until he passed out.
"He’s passed out. Give him water" said a police officer, throwing the young man into the crowd control police car. I reached out and took his hands and put his head on my lap.
"Wake up ... wake up" said Galita.
"Wake up ... wake up" I said. Obed pulled out his water bottle again. Finally the young man woke up. I examined his face and immediately remembered.
"Yes" he said
"What, how could you have been arrested? What about Jumisih?"I asked
"She’s safe" replied Ocul, and it was confirmed by Galita. He said that Jumisih had been protected by Sahrul and another comrade from FBTPI who were brutally beaten. Jumisih was grabbed down from the Commando Car by the police. Ocul, Sahrul, and Lanang had grabbed Jumisih back. Thankfully, Jumisih was safe. I breathed a sigh of relief.
"I had gone back to the Commando Car to save you, Di, but instead I was taken. I was beaten up."
"Thump!" Suddenly a policeman jumped onto the back of the crowd control police car and started to beat and kick us. He kicked me once in the head. Of course it hurt. But another police stopped him. "That’s a woman"
"Oh yes, All women, put your hands on your head" he said as he continued kicking and punching everyone but the women. It was very dark, but I could hear the sound of the punching and kicking, and the groans of the arrested comrades.
"Enough, brother. Enough!" Galita and I said.
I looked at the faces of those police, still young. Then I remembered the face of my cousin who had entered the army after graduating from high school. Would my cousin, the gentle young man, become like them? Ruthless and cruel.
"That’s why sister.... as a woman, don’t go on demonstrations like this. Think about your children, your family. Women best stay at home. You’re only brave when in the Commando Car talking about us. We also have patience. That patience has a limit” said the police officer.
We all kept silent. "You too" he said to a man wearing a green shirt sitting beside Obed. He was a worker from Tangerang.
"What are you doing joining a protest, if you want a higher wage, work harder. Work hard. Remember that. Javanese love working hard, like me I’m working hard!”
"Handphones, whoever still has their handphone bring it over here, so we can delete everything!” said another police officer.
At the same time, my phone rang inside my bag. I hugged the bag while coughing. Someone was calling for a long time, then there were the sounds of notification messages in my WhatsApp and of text messages.
“Damn it” I thought to myself but luckily the police couldn’t hear it.
Photo: We were told to line-up
We were told to get out of the crowd control police car, and instructed to line up and hold each others’ shoulders. We were brought maybe around Monas. I do not really remember. Then we were asked to squat. They separated the women and men. There were four women, Dian Septi (myself), Gallita (FBTPI), Sari (FBTPI) and Wahyuni (SPSI). Wahyuni was not among those who were brought on the crowd control police car. She was arrested and dragged by a policewoman. She told us that she was examined, her entire body, and forced to admit that she gave a speech on the Commando Car. But she insisted she didn’t. Meanwhile the group of the men was beaten again, then our details were taken and a doctor was sent to examine us. Novel (KC FSPMI Bekasi), his forehead was cracked so badly it was recommended he have stitches.
Meanwhile, the four of us also had our details recorded, our identity cards were requested. Gallyta could not give her ID since her ID was in her bag, which had been in the Commando Car.
A moment later, a burly army officer arrived, with two of his subordinates. One of the police officers said to him:
"Here they are, Sir. The provocateurs we arrested"
I saw the soldier just nod, he was wearing a hat, so I did not clearly see his face.
A moment later, we were all put into a police car to be taken to the police station.
"Mr. Gultom, please take them to the police station, release them there” said police officer wearing safari clothing. He might have been Mr Gultom’s boss. Only then did we know that we would be taken to the police station and released there. Previously the police had said we would be released around Monas [near the demonstration].
"If we release you here, later we won’t know where you have gone to. Later people will think we did not release you” said Gultom.
Metro Jaya Police Station. Normally, I go to the police station to give them Notice of Demonstration forms. Now I, along with 24 others, was to be investigated as suspects and witnesses. Twenty one of us were declared as suspects, four others as witnesses.
I was separated along with 4 other comrades. So there were five of us in our group.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
My comrades and I were supported by Jakarta Legal Aid in the investigation. At that time I found out that Ocul or Hasim was also to be included in our group of five. The other 15 people maybe were to be in one group.
We were asked about the planned action, why did we choose to stay and who led the action. Maruli, my lawyer kept reminding me not to answer with detail. At the end of the investigation, I refused to sign the police investigation report as neither suspect nor witness. Some of the other comrades may have done the same. I do not really know.
We were accused of violation of Article 216 and 218 of the Criminal Code on charges of provoking and resisting state orders to disband after three warnings.
My friends and I had finished being investigated. The police officer said that we just needed to sign the Notice of Arrest and Notice of Release and wait for the processing of release of the 25 people.
Photo: Finally the 25 people arrested were released after more than 20 hours of being detained
Feeling tired, finally we each signed the Notice of Arrest and Notice of Release.
After that, we all were taken to the room of the Directorate of General Criminal Investigation. There, there was a police official wearing a blue collared shirt and a sarong. I do not know his name. He said that since it was not a working day, and that he had hurt his leg, he was not in uniform.
While listening to and humming a romantic Western song, he looked very relaxed. Then he said,
"Well, next time, be a bit smart. If you actually planned for the protest to continue past the curfew, of course it was going to be targeted, you know that. You should know how to handle it. "
Again, he hummed the romantic song, the song was playing out of the loudspeaker so we could also hear it.
"We are still humane, still have human rights you know. Well yeah, of course according to you all, there is still violation of human rights. But in other countries, you would have been electrocuted. "
"Well, whatever. We are only doing our duty. Between you all, who was it that wanted to be a member of parliament? Who was that? Budiman Sudjatmiko is also a member of Parliament now.. Ha ha ha ha"
"Well, thank you everyone. We were only doing our duty. We apologise for what happened. Religion teaches us that we are all brothers, so there is no problem, apologise and forgive, right?"
The room was very quiet. Then, we were released. Inside, my heart was struggling. Before leaving the room, I whispered to Pak Pujo, a very militant labour activist of FSPMI.
"He is a psychopath, isn’t he…? After ordering to beat us up, he can still listen to romantic songs. Then he just apologises like nothing happened. "
(Translated by Yohana Sudarsono and Vivian Honan)
Original article in Indonesian can be found here