, Research Paper
An estimated 8,000 students rallied outside the Indonesian parliament in what was the largest protest against president B.J. Habibie since he took office in May after demonstrations and social unrest forced former president Suharto to step down.
Jean Chretien invited the President of Indonesia to attend the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum which is the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic cooperation. In a letter of Oct. 3, 1997, Chretien told Suharto ”I have directed my officials to spare no effort to ensure that appropriate security and other arrangements are made for your stay in Canada as our guest.”
Demonstrations did break out in Vancouver, focusing on the presence of
Suharto, the now disposed Indonesian dictator responsible for the killing of thousands of trade unionists, anti-poverty workers and students. During the protest on Nov. 25, 1997, everyone with a megaphone was either arrested or had his or her megaphone confiscated. Students were also arrested for holding signs and walkie-talkies. Students who started being very disobedient were pepper-sprayed rather than arrested, and those blocking one of the three motorcade exits were also pepper-sprayed out of the way without warning. Almost all the women arrested were strip searched and some were subjected to cavity searches. In all, 78 APEC related arrests were made at UBC in the
weeks of the summit.
Time line of events.
March 97–The hosting of the APEC Leader’s meeting by UBC is finally brought to a board of governors meeting.
May 22, 1997–The Graduate Student Society passes a motion opposing the presence of APEC on campus.
June 4, 1997–APEC Alert members commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen
massacre with a vigil at the Goddess of Democracy statue and chalking at the Museum of Anthropology.
September 25, 1997–Students hand out Apec info at Martha Peppers inauguration. She once again refuses to awnser any questions about APEC.
November 7, 1997– In support of the Halloween arrestees, students present a mock trial in front of Koeporate Library and ‘Chalk it up’ around Koerner Plaza and again on the windows at the atrium.
November 22, 1997–Four students arrested for camping outside the Museum.
November 25, 1997–Approximately 3000 students and non students gather at the
Goddess of Democracy to listen to speeches, music and watch street theatre.