Indonesia: Punk concert raided by the police




Punk concert raided by the police

Police in the Aceh province raided a punk concert, detaining 65 punk fans – shaving the young men’s heads and cutting the women’s hair, stripping away their body piercings and throwing them in pools of water for “spiritual cleansing”.

After the bath and change of clothes, they were each handed a toothbrush by the local police chief Iskandahar Hasan who shouted “use it”. Dog-collar necklaces and chains were also taken from the teenagers.

The punk concert took place on Saturday 10 December and was attended by more than 100 people. According to the news agency AFP there were as many as several hundreds of punk fans attending. The audience came from all over the country to support the event, organized to raise money for orphans.

Months of harassment
Several news agencies and newspapers have reported about the crackdown which is the latest effort by the authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh. The Aceh province is one of Indonesia’s most conservative provinces, and it is the only one to have imposed Islamic laws.

According to BBC News Asia Aceh has a thriving underground punk scene, but many punk-lovers are viewed suspiciously by local residents. The Washington Post reports that pierced and tattooed youths have been complaining for months about harassment.

10 days of “rehabilitation”
According to police chief Hasan, 59 young men and five women were loaded into vans and brought to a police detention center 30 miles from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh. “They will spend 10 days getting rehabilitation, training in military-style discipline and religious classes, including Quran recitation”, Hasan told the news agency AP. “Afterward, they’ll be sent home.”

“We didn’t arrest them, they haven’t committed any criminal offence”, police spokesman Gustav Leo said to BBC News. “They are Aceh’s own children – we are doing this for their own good.”

Violation of human rights
The detentions have already been criticized by national human commissioner Nur Kholis, who said that the police have to explain what criminal laws the teenagers have broken: “Otherwise, they violated people’s rights of gathering and expression.”

Many of the teenagers felt humiliated by the way they were treated by the police. “We didn’t hurt anyone”, twenty-year-old punker Fauzan told AP. “This is how we’ve chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?” Police chief Hasan insisted that the police had done nothing wrong: “We are not violating human rights. We’re just trying to put them back on the right moral path.”





The Washington post  – 14 December 2011:

‘Hard-line Indonesian province shaves mohawks off punk rockers detained at concert’

BBC News Asia  – 14 December 2011:

‘Indonesia’s Aceh punks shaved for ‘re-education”  – 14 December 2011:

‘Indonesian punk rock fans in ‘moral rehabilitation”

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