Despite more than 50 years passing since the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) was completely banned from the country as part of a government-backed purge that killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people from 1965-1966, hardline groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) claim that the PKI are secretly planning a comeback and are using their completely unsubstantiated claims to attack organizations like the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHJ), which was besieged by misinformed communist protesters on September 17.
“The rise of communism in Indonesia is already obvious, it cannot be denied anymore. I can say it’s not just rumors. It is clear and easy to see,” FPI chairman Ahmad Sobri Lubis said on Wednesday as quoted by Detik. He did not mention any evidence for his claim beyond the YLBHJ event that was raided (which even police said had nothing to do with PKI).
FPI and other hardliner groups are planning yet another protest aksi (action) this Friday that follows the naming conventions of their previous demos like the Aksi 212 anti-Ahok protest on 2/12 of last year) by calling it Aksi 299. This time, they’re protesting against a presidential decree that gives the government the power to dissolve civil society organizations deemed to be against the state ideology of Pancasila (Perppu Ormas).
Hadirilah: Aksi Damai 299 Jum'at Akbar"Tolak Kebangkitan Neo PKI!Ayo Ganyang Pelindung PKI!Tolak Perppu Nomor 2!"…
While the anti-Ahok protests were ostensibly done in support of a blasphemy fatwa issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s highest Islamic clerical body, MUI has come out against this Friday’s protest for the very simple reason that there is no evidence that communists still exist in Indonesia.
“(This issue of) the PKI should be finished. The PKI membership is already gone, already all dead. Already for some decades, since I was young and I followed the Nasakom era,” MUI chairman Maruf Amin said today as quoted by Tribunnews.
Maruf urged the public not to join Friday’s protest, saying there was no need for it since the government already had laws preventing the reemergence of the PKI and said if people suspected the communists were coming back they should just bring that evidence to the police.
He also reiterated MUI’s support for Perppu Ormas, and stated that those who had a problem with it should use legal channels and petition the Constitutional Court to overturn it.
Police have assigned 5,000 members of their mobile brigade (Brimob) division to secure this Friday’s protest in front of the House of Representatives building. Organizers say as many as 50,000 would attend the demo.