Subject: Australians Protest Military Ties With Indonesia

Associated Press August 16, 2001

Australians Protest Military Ties With Indonesia

CANBERRA (AP)--Two protesters chained themselves to the fence of Indonesia's embassy Thursday during a demonstration against the resumption of military links between Canberra and Jakarta.

Police armed with bolt cutters quickly removed the protesters, part of a group of 13 people outside the embassy.

The protesters chanted slogans including "troops out of Aceh" and "stop the killing, stop the lies, end all military ties."

One of the men who chained himself to the fence, Stuart Munckton, said concern that Australia would resume training some of Indonesia's military had arisen following Prime Minister John Howard's trip to Jakarta this week to meet new President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

"We're particularly concerned about that because the Indonesian military has a shocking human rights abuse record," he said.

"We know that Australia was training (members of the) Kopassus, a special elite unit of the Indonesian military ... who carried out atrocities in East Timor," he added.

Australia cut military ties with Jakarta in September 1999 after pro-Jakarta militias trained by the army and police went on a bloody rampage in East Timor following the province's vote for independence.


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