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Anti-communist mob threaten Indonesian activist

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Thousands of people have surrounded the house of an Indonesian human-rights activist in Central Java, days after a mob prevented a re-burial ceremony.

Irawan Mangunkusuma and fellow activists from the Foundation for the Investigation of the 1965/1966 Murder Victims planned to hold a multi-faith burial ceremony March 25 in Temanggung for seven victims of the 1960s massacre.

The remains were among 26 bodies recovered from a mass grave in November. The bodies were believed to be victims of a communist witch-hunt that swept across Indonesia in 1965-1966.

Despite permission from local officials, organizers were forced to cancel the ceremony after a Muslim group demanded the procession be stopped.

A mob of 50 people attacked two vehicles before smashing some coffins and leaving the bodies strewn on the ground.

According to the London-based TAPOL Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, the situation in Temanggung is still tense.

A crowd of around 3,000 people has been circling Irwan's house. Many of them are brandishing sharp weapons and yelling slogans, such as "Death to Irawan" and "Irawan PKI".

Irawan, is understood to have left town and been given police protection.

Communists blamed

"PKI" stands for the Indonesian Communist Party, which was outlawed following a failed coup in 1965, which killed six generals and a lieutenant.

Suharto, an army general who later became the country's president, accused the Communist Party as coup-plotters and unleashed a nationwide communist purge and killing orgy.

The military as well as civilians slaughtered communist party members, sympathizers and suspects, by one estimate killing one million people.

Irawan was a victim of the purge and spent eight years in the notorious Nusakambangan Island Prison off the south coast of Java.

Timothy Gill of the Asian Human Rights Commission, who witnessed the digging of the mass grave in November, blamed the resentment on Suharto's political indoctrination, which put communists as Indonesia's bogeymen.

Many lawmakers have rapped President Abdurrahman Wahid for proposing to revoke the ban on the Indonesian Communist Party.

Gill believes that some people who were involved in the purge are afraid of efforts to reveal the truth about the massacres, mobilizing support to block the attempts.

Indonesia Government

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