Subject: AP/AFP: Demonstrators demand Australian Embassy in Indonesia be burned down

Also AFP:

Australian police spark row with Indonesian governor; ABC: Protests in Jakarta over Balibo summons attempt

Wednesday May 30, 2007

Demonstrators demand Australian Embassy in Indonesia be burned down

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP): Protesters called for the Australian Embassy to be burned down Wednesday after Jakarta's governor cut short a visit to Sydney because police asked him to testify about journalists killed during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975.

Indonesia's foreign minister, meanwhile, summoned Ambassador Bill Farmer to ask why Australian police entered the hotel room of Gov. Sutiyoso, who was part of the invading forces but denied involvement in the deaths.

"They barged into my room after forcing the hotel to give them a duplicate key,'' Sutiyoso told reporters in Jakarta, though the New South Wales state deputy coroner denied police let themselves in. "I feel harassed as an official state guest from a sovereign country.''

The dispute threatened to re-ignite diplomatic tensions that have simmered for decades between Indonesia and neighboring Australia over the deaths of five Australia-based journalists in the East Timor town of Balibo.

The two governments have long claimed the five were accidentally killed by crossfire. Hundreds of protesters rallied in front the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon, some shouting "Burn it down! Burn it down!'' while others yelled "Go to hell Australia.''

Sutiyoso, who goes by one name, was in Australia as part of efforts to build stronger ties between Jakarta and New South Wales. He was originally scheduled to return home on Sunday.

Sutiyoso, 62, is a retired lieutenant-general in the Indonesian army who was part of the special forces unit that attacked Balibo where the five journalists died on Oct. 16, 1975.

---

Wednesday May 30, 07:39 PM

Australian police spark row with Indonesian governor

JAKARTA (AFP) - An Indonesian governor and retired general Wednesday branded Australian police insulting after they allegedly used a master key to enter his hotel room during an official trip to Sydney.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso demanded an apology after he said police entered his room with a subpoena requesting he give evidence at an inquest into the death of an Australia-based newsman in East Timor in 1975.

An offended Sutiyoso, who was scheduled to visit Canberra after Sydney, cut short his visit and flew back to Jakarta early Wednesday.

"I really feel slighted by such treatment," he told reporters in Jakarta.

"If there is no apology, I will deem it as arrogance on their part, and do we need to continue relations with Australia?" a furious Sutiyoso asked.

"The matter will quickly be settled if they admit to their mistake," said Sutiyoso, a prominent politician in Indonesia.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda had already sought and received an explanation from the Australian ambassador over Tuesday's incident, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

The spokesman said the government was "so far" not planning to lodge a formal protest with Australia.

The Australian embassy stressed that police had not been acting on behalf of the Australian government in requesting he give evidence.

"The thing that needs to be emphasised in this case is that it was only a request, an invitation from coronial police. Mr Sutiyoso was not forced to come to the inquest," embassy spokesman John Williams told ElShinta radio.

Several hundred people, mainly members of youth groups, rallied outside the embassy in Jakarta over the treatment of Sutiyoso, amid tight security.

They chanted: "Get out, get out Australia" and sang the Indonesian national anthem.

The inquest in Sydney is probing the death of the cameraman who was among five British and Australian newsmen killed in crossfire in Balibo ahead of the Indonesian military's invasion of East Timor.

Their families insist they were murdered and there was a cover-up by Canberra and Jakarta.

Sutiyoso, a retired lieutenant general, served in the military for three decades and was part of Indonesia's occupation of the half-island nation.

He denied Wednesday he played any role in the killings.

"I did not go to Balibo, my troops were not in Balibo. I was in another place but not Balibo," he said.

He said he had lodged a formal protest with the New South Wales government in Sydney, where he was the official guest of Premier Morris Iemma to revive a cooperation pact between the state and Jakarta.

"If the Australian government apologises and says it was a case of negligence, then we will think of continuing our relations," he said.

His office outlined the incident in a statement which said police entered his room using a key from staff at the hotel while he was taking a nap. His staff later met the officers about their request, which was refused.

"For the sake of safeguarding the dignity and integrity of the nation, the governor cancelled his scheduled programmes ..," the statement said.

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ABC NewsOnline

Wednesday, May 30, 2007. 7:35pm (AEST)

Protests in Jakarta over Balibo summons attempt

By Indonesia correspondent Geoff Thompson and wires

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta demanding an apology from the Federal Government over an attempt to serve a summons on Jakarta's Governor when he visited Sydney yesterday.

So-called "sweeping operations" against Australian citizens living in Jakarta will begin over the next couple of days and if any are found, they will be sent home, a protest spokesman said outside Australia's Jakarta embassy this afternoon.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda has also summoned Australian Ambassador Bill Farmer to his office tonight to deliver a protest, after Governor Sutiyoso called on him to demand an apology.

Mr Sutiyoso has denied accusations he was in Balibo when five Australian-based journalists were killed in 1975.

He was in East Timor then as the captain of a special operations unit.

The allegations led to an attempt yesterday at Sydney hotel by to serve a summons on him to appear at the coronial inquest into the death of one of the men, Brian Peters.

Mr Sutiyoso has also questioned whether Indonesia should maintain a diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

'Slighted'

"I really feel slighted by such treatment," Governor Sutiyoso, a prominent politician in Indonesia, told reporters in Jakarta.

"If there is no apology, I will deem it as arrogance on their part, and do we need to continue relations with Australia?

"The matter will quickly be settled if they admit to their mistake."

He denies he played any role in the killings.

"I did not go to Balibo, my troops were not in Balibo. I was in another place but not Balibo," he said.

Mr Wirajuda had already sought and received an explanation from the Australian ambassador over the incident, a foreign ministry spokesman says.

The spokesman says the Government was "so far" not planning to lodge a formal protest with Australia.

DFAT

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it has explained the independence of the New South Wales coroner to the Indonesian embassy.

The embassy contacted the Department today to convey the Indonesian Government's concerns about the treatment of Jakarta's Governor.

The Department says requests for an apology are a matter for New South Wales police and the coroner.

The Australian embassy in Jakarta stressed police had not been acting on behalf of the Australian Government in requesting Governor Sutiyoso give evidence.

"The thing that needs to be emphasised in this case is that it was only a request, an invitation from coronial police. Mr Sutiyoso was not forced to come to the inquest," embassy spokesman John Williams told ElShinta radio.

Governor Sutiyoso said he had lodged a formal protest with the New South Wales Government in Sydney, where he was the official guest of Premier Morris Iemma to revive a cooperation pact between the state and Jakarta.

"If the Australian Government apologises and says it was a case of negligence, then we will think of continuing our relations," he said.


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