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Police give punks a forced haircut

Dozens of young punk rock concert goers had their heads shaved and body piercings confiscated after police in Indonesia said they were a threat to Islamic values.

They were also stripped of dog-collar necklaces and chains and then thrown in pools of water for "spiritual" cleansing, police chief Iskandar Hasan said.

After replacing their "disgusting" clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked "use it."

It was the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in the secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million people to have imposed Islamic laws.

Adultery is punishable by stoning to death. Homosexuals have been thrown in jail or lashed in public with canes. Women are told, wearing headscarves is a must, but tight trousers are banned.

Punk rockers have complained for months about harassment, but Saturday's roundup was by far the most dramatic.

Baton-wielding police broke up the concert, scattering young music lovers.

Dozens were loaded into vans and taken to a police detention centre in the hills, 30 miles from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, for "re-education."

They will be held there for at least 10 days, after which they will be returned to their parents.

Twenty-year-old punk, Fauzan, was mortified. "Why? Why my hair?!" he said, pointing to his cleanly shaven head. "We didn't hurt anyone. This is how we've chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?"

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