Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hundreds injured, arrested as Jakarta protest ends in clashes on Monday

Oct 02. 2019
Protests by various elements on Monday in Palmerah, Central Jakarta started to get ugly in the afternoon with the protesters throwing plastic bottles and stones at police who shot tear gas back in return. (kompas.com/Bonfilio Mahendra Wahanaputra)
Protests by various elements on Monday in Palmerah, Central Jakarta started to get ugly in the afternoon with the protesters throwing plastic bottles and stones at police who shot tear gas back in return. (kompas.com/Bonfilio Mahendra Wahanaputra)
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By Kharishar Kahfi and A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil
The Jakarta Post

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A protest that took place near the legislative complex in Jakarta on Monday ended in more clashes between demonstrators and security forces, resulting in hundreds of people getting injured, while hundreds of others were arrested. 

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Tuesday that about 210 people suffered injuries during the clashes and they had been treated at various hospitals.

“Of the 210 injured people, only 15 needed to be hospitalized,” Anies said without giving details on whether the injured were only among the protesters or were also security personnel.

At least 38 of the injured protesters were brought to the Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta to receive treatment, hospital spokesperson Agus W. Susetyo said.

He added that they were admitted at 11:20 p.m. and comprised 22 university students, nine high school students and seven members of the general public.

All of the injured patients were released from hospital by 12 a.m. on Tuesday, Agus said.

“Some of them were injured from being hit by rocks, while the others were injured by being tripped while running,” Agus told The Jakarta Post.

Chaos erupted following a rally staged by thousands of protesters, including activists and workers, as well as high school and university students, who had marched toward the House of Representatives compound on Monday afternoon.

Unlike during previous rallies, protesters on Monday could not reach the House’s front gate on Jl. Gatot Subroto as the police had installed a barricade about 100 meters from the complex. Demonstrators attempted to break the barricade but to no avail.

Security was heightened around the House complex as the legislative body was holding its last plenary session for the 2014 to 2019 term at the time.

According to a statement issued by the Democracy Advocacy Team, which comprises public advocacy groups, the police had started shooting tear gas toward the protesters gathering in front of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s office — located next to the House compound — at 4:30 p.m.

When protesters grouped in the Alliance of Civil Society for Justice and Democracy (AMuKK) moved to end the protests by holding a press conference at 5:45 p.m., the police attempted to disperse them by shooting more tear gas.

The clash continued until Monday evening, with some protesters throwing rocks at the police, who tried to disperse the retreating crowds by shooting tear gas and flares.

Unrest was reported to have spread to other locations near the legislative compound, including Jl. Tentara Pelajar at Palmerah and Jl. Penjernihan at Pejompongan in Central Jakarta, as well as Jl. Asia Afrika in Senayan, South Jakarta.

Protesters retreating to Pejompongan kept throwing stones toward the security forces. The clash at Jl. Penjernihan led to the burning of a police car parked at the Tanah Abang Police headquarters, kompas.com. reported.

Police officers were also reported to have been firing tear gas toward the Semanggi Interchange and Atmajaya University compound on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, which served as a shelter for medical teams treating injured protesters.

“Between 8:21 and 9:10 p.m., police officers shot tear gas toward streets around Atmajaya University. Several injured protesters suffered from asphyxiation and were trapped in the university complex,” the team said in a statement.

Some police officers had also allegedly chased after university students and medical teams who were retreating from the House compound and some had reportedly used violence when handling protesters, the team said.  

“We urged the police to stop any violent acts in handling the demonstration. We also demanded the force to punish any personnel found committing violence,” the Democracy Advocacy Team stated.

Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said on Tuesday that 519 people, including students and workers, had been arrested for alleged rioting during clashes in areas around the legislative compound.\

“The 519 suspected rioters are in the custody of the Jakarta Police and other precinct police [in Jakarta],” Argo said as quoted by kompas.com.

Approximately 315 people were detained at the Jakarta Police headquarters, while 157 were being held at the West Jakarta Police and 36 were detained at the North Jakarta Police. The Central Jakarta Police were holding 11 people. 

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