This article originally appeared in the July issue of Liberation, the central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference, scheduled June 7-10 at a site 50 kilometres outside the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, was meant to discuss ways of fighting neo-liberal policies and militarism in the region. But thanks to a draconian attempt by police and paramilitary groups to scuttle the event, the participants turned it into a real battle against the neo-fascist forces that are making a bid for power again in Indonesia.
It all started on June 8, the second day of the conference, when more than 100 policemen armed with carbines and tear gas barged into the venue to arrest foreign participants for alleged ``visa violations''. Sealing off the conference hall, switching off the lights and using megaphones to bark out their orders, the gun-toting policemen presented, to the more than 40 representatives of left groups from around the world, a taste of what former Indonesian dictator Suharto's New Order regime must have been like.