Military orders Indonesian parties to obey campaign rules
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ The military ordered Indonesia’s three officially recognized political parties Wednesday to obey a ban on street marches before the May 29 general election.
The demand follows several illegal processions in the capital, Jakarta, and elsewhere since campaigning began Sunday.
The government imposed the ban to prevent violence between political factions.
Thousands of supporters of the Muslim-oriented United Development Party caused major traffic jams Tuesday with a noisy but peaceful procession of marchers, motorcycles and buses through parts of Jakarta.
Rusdy Hamkah, chairman of the party’s Jakarta branch, was questioned by police but released.
On Wednesday, the governing Golkar party also staged an illegal street march after a big rally in the city’s southern suburbs.
``I hope there will be no more convoys like that, because it violates the rules,″ said Maj. Gen. Sutiyoso, Jakarta’s military chief. ``They have to return home after the rally instead of marching around.″
Authorities have warned that they will take action against organizers of rallies that get out control.
Meanwhile, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Slamet Supriyadi said four people were arrested after a brawl Monday between rival factions of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party in Surabaya, 530 miles east of Jakarta.
Rival factions threw rocks and punches, but no one was seriously injured.
About 125 million Indonesians will be eligible to vote for 425 seats in the 500-member, largely ceremonial parliament. The other 75 seats are allocated to appointees from Indonesia’s military.
Golkar says it expects to receive more than 70 percent of the total vote. It has overwhelmingly won five straight elections since Indonesia’s present political system was set up in 1971.