September 19, 2017
On 17 September 2017, thousands of anti-communist demonstrators surrounded and besieged the office of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) in Jakarta, on false allegations that a gathering held inside the building was attended by supporters of the former Indonesian Communist Party. On 16 September 2017, police raided the same premises to cancel an event held by Jakarta Legal Aid to discuss human rights violations which occurred during the mass killings in 1965-1966, which targeted communist sympathisers. The YLBHI office was sealed by the police on 18 September, and lawyers from Jakarta Legal Aid have been prevented from entering the building.
On 17 September 2017, at roughly 9:30pm the headquarters of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute were attacked by anti-communist protesters. The protesters wrongly believed that an event at the YLBHI was a gathering of supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party, which was banned in 1966. The YLBHI was holding a discussion and musical performance to protest against the dispersal of the Jakarta Legal Aid event the previous day. Some demonstrators attempted to enter the premises while the mob shouted nationalist slogans and death threats. Around roughly 1:20 am, the protestors began pushing against police and threw bottles and rocks at them. Clashes erupted, which led to several police officers being injured. Several people trapped inside the YLBHI’s office suffered panic attacks and one individual was injured by shattered glass caused by large rocks being thrown at the building. Everyone inside the YLBHI office were safely evacuated shortly after 2:00 am, once the protesters had dispersed.
On 16 September 2017, a group of scholars, activists, survivors and families of victims of the 1965-66 massacres gathered for an academic discussion on the human rights violations that occurred between 1965 and 1966. However, this event, which was organised by Jakarta Legal Aid, and attended by members of several human rights organisations, was forcibly broken up by the police. Police raided the headquarters of YLBHI, where the event was taking place without a warrant, removed the banner of the event and intimidated Jakarta Legal Aid’s lawyers.