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Indonesia: Labour activists under fire

, Index number: ASA 21/010/1994

More than 100 workers and labour activists were arrested during and immediately after massive strikes and demonstrations in Medan, North Sumatra, in mid-April 1994. The demonstrations marked a peak in a rising tide of labour unrest in Medan and throughout Indonesia in the last two years. However, the protests in Medan degenerated into anti-Chinese violence, resulting in the death of one businessman of Chinese descent, the injury of several others and widespread destruction of property. AI deplores these events but is concerned that the Indonesian authorities may be using the unrest as a pretext for repression of peaceful labour activism. AI is particularly concerned by the arrests of several officials of the SBSI union, of whom at least five may be prisoners of conscience. AI is also concerned about other incidents of repression of labour activists, including the abduction, rape and killing of a young woman, Marsinah, in May 1993 and the killing of a worker, Rusli, in March 1994, shortly after he participated in a strike. Two lists of detainees' names are appended.

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