The Riot of 1986
The Riot of 1986 is a series of disorders and conflicts that happened during and after the voting procedure in the Parliament Jakarta. The youths, who are split between support and oppose but having a significantly larger mob for the former, came to the Parliament in Senayan to express their opinions. To fully understand how it was caused, or how it became as demoralizing as it was, there has to be a short context about history.
The build-up came during December of the previous year. That time, politicians strategized themselves on finding the best scenario for themselves. It was notable, as every party had its own objective, thus finding themselves almost under difference. Even within the party, like in PPP and PNI-R, different factions might be across from each other. As after the vote, it was confirmed that some indigenous Malay politicians, led by Kedah doctor Mahathir Mohammad, showed resistance against the bigger pro-government Musa Hitam. In PNI-R, the case was much simpler, as it involved the youths versus the Old Guard. The youths played a big role during the tumult because they directly were involved.
As New Year was coming, each party youth’s organization held a leadership meeting. In before, the PPI’s Barisan Pemuda (1) already determined their arrival to support the vote of no confidence against the Parliament. As they all were rural youngster, they totally supported the communist ideal. Moreover, their relatively unschooled nature than the other youth equivalents, as they chiefly entered the workforce after primary school, showed a more aggressive and hostile posture towards opposition than anyone else, sometimes involving melees and deadlocks. Barisan Pemuda was also famous for its unyielding mission, seize the means of production, to the Indonesian people. Therefore, expectedly, BP will come against the government at any chance they can find.
The PNI-R Youths, Pemuda Nusantara (2), had a different view. Instead of the obvious anti-government Barisan Pemuda, PN showed a more tolerable stance for LKY. Indeed, the young nationalists hated Japan’s growing influence, particularly in Indonesia’s economy. As more and more appliances derived from Japanese corporations, fresh thinkers acknowledged this as Japan’s new imperialistic technique. With scars of Japanese occupation seriously embedded on nationalist propaganda, Pemuda Nusantara certainly opposed LKY’s policy. However, Pemuda Nusantara was supporting LKY’s social policy. They venerated BJ Habibie for a strong movement. A movement of science and progress. Consequently, the youth agreed with a pro-US Indonesia, especially with a science budget overhaul under the US President John Glenn. Also, is the same side as Barisan Pemuda was shown as a disgrace among PNI-R members. They would rather die than side with them. However, both of them have some same traits, which members usually dived into the depths of politics.
Similar spirit with an absolutely different aim and expertise, Front Muda (3), PPP’s liberal youth wing, has entrenched with LKY’s government with a unified cause, keeping the growing trend of Westernization. Especially after the rising number of arrivals from America and Europe, Indonesians has been aware of western free culture. It brought diverse culture into the existing diverse land, introducing music, art and ideas. Like the PNI-R youths brought Malmedy into the 70s, the 80s brought Kenny Rogers, Madonna and Michael Jackson into Indonesian cities. European rocks, according to these kinds of youth, have become too apocalyptic and less certainty. As so, those new-rocks were tending to be slower than energetic American ones. Also, these youths controversially introduced the hippie and punk. Establishing movements of peace, anti-corruption, love and sex. The last point was proven to cause few clashes with Barisan Pemuda and Front Pemuda Islam, both of them too conservative to acknowledge that raw behaviour. Rather than the previous political groups, this PPP youth wing is entirely socio-cultural and exists non-obligatory political discussion. However, the group has been the most successful of them all, as they went far beyond political beliefs, and strongly address common societal problems like equality of race and gender.
Last but not least powerful, Front Pemuda Islam (4) was a youth Islamic community established by ulamas to maintain and preserve Islamic religious norms to continue under the modern yet intrusive culture. This has grown as the one true opposition against Front Pemuda members, few times involved in a gang fight. Although the NU and the Muhammadiyah had their own youth movement to campaign their own fight for Islam, the FPI was a religiously driven group. Common to popular belief, they have fundamental Islam views, some of them may be entirely discriminative, like anti-Semitism. Moreover, they were also responsible for lynching several non-Muslim citizens with the case of kafir. As a result, the FPI have clashed occasionally with PN’s all-unity and FP’s support to the Jewish.
With all due said, these youths were entirely divided into conflicting factions than can cause their own little civil war. In October 1985, nearly 20 teenage brawls happened in Jakarta than ignited into a full-blown out youth combat. Soon, these tensions became common to most families, and situations in cities can be slightly grim. It all soon escalated by January.
In the morning of the 6th, reports of PPI demonstrators have arrived in front of Senayan (5). Barisan Pemuda orators coming from Brebes, Purwakarta and Cilacap sector all have flocked to demand the vote to oust the government. They brought hand-written banners, some were offensive for the politicians. Some other banners are nicely put propaganda, appeasing the less educated ones who adore good visual graphics. In 07.00, almost one thousand arrived from the PPI. They also brought convoys to the road. Next, naturally, was the city dwellers Front Pemuda. Boys wear yellow headbands while girls wear yellow bandana, their PPP iconic colour. Technologically more advance than BP, FP brought megaphones, quickly out speak them. They arrived in 07.45, and that was when Pemuda Nusantara comes in. Similar to FP, they accumulated almost 600 college students, mostly from local universities. Better coordination that FP, all PN wore blue. Lastly, the FPI arrived in 9 with their black sorban. Together, with additional convoys by afternoon, Senayan would be filled by almost a thousand people.
FPI doing dzuhur prayer, a few bloks out from the Parliament
As a security measure, Jakarta RMC (Kodam Jaya) Commander Major General Borhan Ahmad (6). Formerly Malaya RMC staff member before re-appointment. Borhan Ahmad, unsurprisingly, in Mahathir’s aide-de-camp, and not so cordial with LKY and Musa Hitam. He sent 500 of his troops to maintain a standoff against the demonstrators in case of a riot. While the other 500 secure the perimeter. The third troop was reserved in case the first defence failed. But still, Borhan Ahmad was not a pacific kind of person, but a conformist. His soldiers weren’t helpful either, as Kodam Jaya was infamous for treating civilians poorly. Police were also there, being the army’s indicator for any counter-riot operation to begin.
The first half of the day was well mannered for both the convoys and the military. The police had conducive conversations with the youths, even some humoured each other. Yet, others maintained antipathy, giving the police difficult patience. After the vote by 3 in the afternoon, the entire demonstration all showed mixed emotions. Front Pemuda expressed the greatest excitement of their lives, while Front Pemuda Islam and Barisan Pemuda all shouted in disbelief. And then, provocations erupted.
Firstly, an allegedly Barisan Pemuda punched a group of Pemuda Nusantara with the motive of most PNI-R not voting yay for no confidence. And then, the group clashed with each other, throwing bricks, rocks, or anything they could find. Unknowingly, during the fight Barisan Pemuda openly staged a brawl with Front Pemuda, therefore giving a mayhem circus just in front of the Parliament. As fellow friends of Barisan Pemuda, Front Pemuda Islam charged alongside them, giving a two-front youth riot in front of Senayan. From a tense wait in 15.00, it became a large feud in 15.30, and brick-throwing in 16.00.
At this time, Borhan Ahmad was no patient nor considerate. He also noticed the political opportunity for this. Therefore, with negotiations with on-field Police Commander Brigadier General Sapta Noer (7), the police started beating everyone, regardless of the youth. Their reason was simple, there was a fight in front of MPR, the police should stop them. Initially, beatings from batons really ushered them away. But, as maghrib arrived, more and more youths, some that never even demonstrated in the day, arrived at the scene to retaliate against the police. The police brutality exploded the mass quadruplet. Almost ten thousand had mobilized, either from local universities or even nearest satellite cities of Jakarta. It was grim for Brigadier General Sapta Noor, especially as a PPI demonstration wave would come from Bogor with arrival at 10. In their perspective, these youths had prepared for such thing, and Sapta Noor gave Borhan Ahmad the signal. It was terrifying.
By 21:03, the troops that were mostly on defensive had opened fire to the protestors. It was a no mercy attitude for rioters, Borhan had stated, and he felt no remorse from that. Then, after the youths fled for their safety, twenty-five men and three women died from gun wounds, and 72 others wounded, slightly or severely. Jakarta RMC troops also intercepted the second wave that came from Bogor on the Jagorawi Toll Road. The stopped the busses in Cilincing and ordered them to get back home in gun-point.
Just as the government reached their own homes by then, an infuriated Subandrio addressed the nation to apologize for such atrocities by the military. He attempted to discharge Borhan from his office dishonourably. However, he announced his own press conference, with a throwback for the president.
Condition in 17.00 of the afternoon
Condition in 17.00 of the afternoon
What has the President shown to the people and the world is only cowardice and weakness. The political factions inside deliberately using the youths to move forwards agendas. The chaos happened because of the protestors acted violently, and the military must restore order. Indeed, the military doesn't patronize brutality and oppression. But, with the strong resentment among youths, and public concern of domestic stability, it should be clear that these sort of riots if not contained will cause only terrible effects for Indonesia’s future. I am a member Golkar, I work and think according to my ability and occupation. However, it is also apparent that the current government has been doing awful things outside our sight.
I am urging the military to unite. After the split because of politics, I think it is time for the armed forces to join hand and be as one. Not to fight against the government, but protect the integrity of Indonesia. Indonesia is failing with all of those scandals, incidents, and now riots. It’s no time for lobbying or politics, it’s time to reform our nation.
In February 1986, Borhan was inevitably discharged from the military. Public opinion was radically mixed between the old and the young. The old fully supported Golkar, that determined the youth’s insubordination that causes few incidents across cities. The youth, however, has turned more anti-military and thus giving more supporters to Front Pemuda and Barisan Pemuda. Unfortunately, the PNI-R has damaged the dearest, split between old guards who had a few affirmative opinions with the Golkar and Pemuda Nusantara, completely aligned with the Front Pemuda. There are few PN who agreed with Borhan too, stating the young communists as the culprit.
As Subandrio’s second term faltered with a new crisis, the government seemingly forgot about one little thing, that the Indochina was once again in flames. The Cambodia Civil War has involved the Americans.
=====================I think from here, the government will have a difficult time to cooperate with the military.
For simplification, let me summarize these four youth wings from each party:
(1) Barisan Pemuda: Ally of the PPI. Mostly a youth political group, with communist manifestos indoctrinated. They formerly hated the Islamists, but soon they shifted for a 'larger' threat: liberalism.
(2) Pemuda Nusantara: Ally of the PNI-R. Mostly a youth political group, although they contributed mostly to scientific seminars. They truly hated Barisan Pemuda and Front Pemuda Islam, but neutral-friendly to the rest.
(3) Front Pemuda: Initially a socio-cultural heterogenic group of youths celebrating the freedom under Subandrio and LKY's government. However, since the military was acting up they became more politically active. Campaigning for anti-military, and sometimes anti-corruption as armed forces (the police included) were susceptible to bribes.
(4) Front Pemuda Islam: An extremely religious youth wing, extremely conservative and fundamentalist. Similarly indoctrinated. They extremely hated others except for Barisan Pemuda.
(5) Senayan is also the area OTL MPR building of Indonesia is, and currently ITTL also.
(6) Borhan Ahmad is OTL Commander of the Army for Malaysia by 1994
(7) entirely a-historical
For the record, this is the end of the chapter and the Cambodia Civil War will opened a new chapter, this time a trip around South East Asia as a whole, with few international events.
PS. ( Let me confide a bit) It's been 31-years TL Story wise or 36-years if you counted the EG. I wholeheartedly thank all of you who kept reading. You guys, especially the long-term readers, keep invigorate me to continue this timeline. I also thank the newcomers too. As a return favor, please let me know for any suggestions or comments that may help this TL. Who knows, probably your own ideas will be incorporated here.