News on a recent mini epidemic of raids by the Islamic Defenders Front, FPI, Front Pembela Islam.
On the 20th of May in the town of Pamekasan, in Madura, East Java, one of the Front's few strong areas in that province, members conducted raids on a number of night spots and some roadside stalls which were thought to be selling alcohol. One hotel was also targeted and the owner of the establishment was instructed not to allow the sale of liquor and drugs on his premises.
Speeches followed in which an unnamed FPI man implored the residents of Pamekasan to help the Front stamp out sinful activities in the city. The police response to the events is unknown.
Also on the 20th, in Bandung, West Java, dozens of Front loyalists went to the Jalan Cikutra area in three pick-ups and dozens of motorbikes. They attacked one store that sold alcohol and confiscated about 200 bottles. After this success they moved towards downtown Bandung and visited a number of night spots in further search of the demon drink. They were accompanied by public order officials and police but no action was taken as the police were reported to have been overwhelmed by the situation.
However later the police attempted to put a stop to the actions by blocking off roads likely to be used by the convoy of FPI vehicles. Antara reports that police asked owners of targeted night spots to close their doors while the 'sweeping' was going on in order to avoid trouble.
While in the Kresek area of Bekasi, West Java, dozens of roadside stalls, or warungs, were damaged during an FPI raid on 21st May. 60 Front men took part in the attack. Afterwards police detained 21 of them.
Their leader is charged with violating law 160 (provoking others to damage property) and 170 (damaging property). His men are charged under law 170.
(Pimpinannya kami jerat pasal 160 KUHP dan 170 KUHP, memprovokator dan melakukan perusakan, sedangkan anak buahnya dijerat pasal 170.)
said Chairul Anwar of the police on the 22nd.
In this action the FPI men were reported to have just returned from an anti-pornography rally and decided to inspect a number of roadside stalls on Jalan Masjid At-Taqwa which were thought to sell music as well as alcohol. Stallholders resisted the "inspections" and some violence broke out. Three policeman who happened to be in the area at the time attempted to prevent the FPI's attack on the stalls but to no avail and about 11 stalls were damaged. A number of stallholders also suffered injuries.
One unit of the police Mobile Brigade remains stationed in the area and Bekasi police chief Chairul Anwar warned:
If there are anarchic actions the police will not remain silent and will punish those responsible.
(Jika sampai ada yang melakukan tindakan anarkis, maka polisi tidak tinggal diam dan akan memberikan sanksi hukum yang tegas.)