Dresden’s rowdy reception for Suharto

TAPOL Report, 06 April, 1995

The following is based on a press release issued today by Watch Indonesia!, press sources and original documents:

tapol-logoOn his arrival in Dresden yesterday, 5 April, the last day of his visit to Germany, President Suharto was given a rowdy welcome by a crowd of some 150 people waving posters, beating drums and blowing whistles. The Indonesian dictator was escorted by a large number of German police and several dozen men in civilian clothing, wearing dark glasses, obviously from the Indonesian intelligence.

Demonstrators called for the withdrawal of the Indonesian military from East Timor and for the people of East Timor to exercise their right to self-determination.

Among the demonstrators were three East Timorese, Luciano Valentim da Conceixao, Vitor Tavares and Jose Manuel, who were among the 29 who entered the US embassy in Jakarta last November. They shouted slogans calling for the release of resistance leader Xanana Gusmão and a stop to German arms sales to Indonesia.

A planned for Suharto to attend a performance at the Dresden Opera House was abandoned, apparently because the orchestra refused to perform for the Indonesian president.

Large protesting crowds followed him when he visited the Zwinger portrait gallery in the city. He remained for only half an hour, and left, apparently irritated by the noisy demonstration that continued outside.

Leaders from four of the six parliamentary groups in the Dresden parliament including the Greens, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the PDS (former communists) signed a joint statement declaring Suharto unwelcome in Dresden. They cited among others the killing of at least half a million people when Suharto came to power in 1965 and the invasion of East Timor in 1975.

All state politicians who met Suharto, including the German president, Roman Herzog, and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, raised human rights issues with him; the only one to avoid the issue was Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Germany hopes to become Indonesia’s first partner in Europe, its gateway to the European Union. Chancellor Kohl has described Rudy Habibie, one of Suharto’s closest associates and a likely successor, as “Indonesia’s greatest investment in Germany”. Suharto is looking for more German investment. This week, Germany won three billion marks worth of orders to build a number of industries, including a coal energy supplier and ships.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.