Indonesians file lawsuit against U.S. consulate in Surabaya

December 14th, 2011 - 4:48 pm ICT by BNO News  

SURABAYA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — A group of Indonesian nationals filed a lawsuit against the United States consulate general in eastern Java on Tuesday for building a barrier and obstructing traffic on a public road.

Muhammad Sholeh, the lawyer of a group of six Indonesians, filed the lawsuit on their behalf at the Surabaya District Court, located in eastern Java, according to the Antara news agency. The class action suit was also addressed to the police in Surabaya.

The group is objecting the construction of a concrete wall by the U.S. consulate general, which is located seven meters (22.6 feet) in front of the consulate’s entrance gate on Raya Polisi Istimewa street. The concrete wall was put up about four years ago and measures one meter (3.2 feet) high, 50 centimeters (19.6 inches) thick and 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) long.

“This concrete wall has given rise to many complaints because it is located in the middle of the road,” Sholeh told the Antara news agency. “It often causes traffic congestion, especially for vehicles coming from the east,” he added.

At the time of the construction, several protests were being carried out, many of them in front of the consulate. The barrier, Sholeh explained, is apparently intended to keep protesters at a safe distance from the consulate.

However, Sholeh argued that there is no point in keeping the concrete wall as security teams usually block off any protesters at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the consulate.

Sholeh also noted that the the barrier actually stands on Indonesian soil and should be dismantled, as it violates traffic and road transportation laws. Furthermore, the lawyer said the Surabaya police chief has also violated the law and constitution by favoring a foreign party above the Indonesian community.

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