“Sweeping” of Australians

Apr 6th, 2006, in News, by

A group of university students in Yogyakarta went looking for Australians staying in major hotels in the city yesterday, to vent their outrage over the Papuan visa matter and the rude cartoon of the president, and kick the Australians out presumably.

Indonesians call this sort of thing “sweeping”, or to use the active verb mensweeping, and attempts at it occur with some frequency, whenever the Indonesian offence level reaches a critical point (see Muttawa), fragile, insecure people that some of them are.

They belonged to a group called Resimen Mahasiswa (Menwa), similar to Army Cadets in a western university, supposing such things are still allowed in the west, which claims members from a variety of centres of higher learning in the culture-packed city of Yogyakarta. Most of them, Metro Tv says, came from the Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII). First, attempts were made by the young radicals to engage in “dialogue” with representatives of the provincial administration but such efforts were rebuffed with no-one willing to enter into such dialogue. Wills undeterred and spirits undeflated they stood their ground outside the local government office and delivered firebrand speeches, some of the highlights of which follow.

The Indonesian nation loves peace but loves freedom and sovereignty more. When the sovereignty and self-respect of the nation has been trodden on there is no choice but to fight back.

That went for the Papuan visa issue. The cartoon offence was not far from their agitated minds however:

The cartoon of the president of Indonesia is a clear insult to the goverment and the people. We can’t stay silent over this.

Advice to the leaders of the country was offered:

We demand the government immediately sever diplomatic relations with Australia if Australia continues to interfere in our affairs, above all in the granting of visas to Papuans.

After they had done with talking they marched to the Ibis hotel in search of Australians. The reports have it that the manager of the hotel met them at the front and subjected himself to receiving an explanation of the situation concerning the integrity of the Indonesian state from the budding military men.

Then they are reported to have continued their long march to the Garuda hotel on Yogyakarta’s main road, Jl. Malioboro. Apparently, and incredibly, the management of this hotel let the students look at the hotel guest list. Satisfying themselves that there were no Australians there they proceeded to the Mutiara hotel. No luck there either, not an Australian in sight.

Probably won’t be too many Australians in Yogyakarta in the future either. Lovely town Yogyakarta, I can muster up some good memories of the place but unfortunately there are far too many universities there, only doing half their job of keeping young men off the streets and occupied.

The group has plans for a bigger and better show of force next week. Truly great advertisement for Indonesian tourism. Picture and Indonesian language report at Suara Merdeka. TV news report video at Metro.

Update, April 7th.

Police Brigadier General Anton Bahrul Alam has said those responsible for sweeping attempts will be arrested in future and that the police will be prepared next time.

The individual rights of people, especially foreigners, have to be guaranteed. Don’t just do as you like.

Update, April 8th.

Sweeping of Australians has also occured in the south Sulawesi capital of Makassar. University students turned up at the Hotel Aryadutha but were rebuffed by staff who refused to let them see the hotel guest list. A police line held firm so the students proceeded to go into shops and destroy goods from Australia.

Apparently this sort of thing has been going on for the last three days in Makassar.

2 Comments on ““Sweeping” of Australians”

  1. Tomaculum says:

    Is this democracy? Rather anarchism and stupidity.
    Can I still advise my friends in Europe to visite Yogyakarta?
    Is Yogyakarta allready rich enough, so it doesn’t need the earnings from the tourism?
    I will still tell my friends: visite Yogyakarta.
    Why? Because there are sisters and brothers living there, who needs the money to give their children a tomorrow.
    If some one ask me about Hotels in Yogya, I will say: Hotel Garuda and Mutiara? Never!!!

  2. Matt says:

    Scarey! I think I’ll go to Thailand

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