(Tribun Jakarta/Erik Sinaga)
Police and students were involved in a violent clash on Jl. Diponegoro after students started to burn tires during a day-long rally held by students of the Indonesian Christian University (UKI) and the Indonesian Persada University (UPI-YAI) in front of their campuses in Salemba, Central Jakarta.
Students effectively closing down a stretch of Jl. Diponegoro, beside the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital (RSCM) and set tires alight.
The students had been provoking police and were enraged when one activist was detained. They then stormed a police post on Jl. Dipongoro, demanding the student’s release.
Tensions heightened in the evening, when a police car was trapped in a traffic jam before being ambushed and set alight by students blockading Jl. Diponegoro in front of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) office. Protesters have been using the office as a kind of transit place.
Police deployed two Barracuda armored-vehicles to the office to look for the students who burned the patrol car.
The clashes ended at about 9:45 p.m. after the students retreated to their campuses while the police reopened Jl. Diponegoro.
The relationship between students of the two universities during the rally was somewhat ironic, as they have been known to dislike one other and brawl.
“This is the beginning of peace between the UKI and the UPI. We are united to reject the fuel-price hike plan,” a UKI student said in a speech during the rally, as quoted by kompas.com.
At around dusk, when the tires burnt out, several students from the UPI came along, bringing a new tire to burn. UKI students welcomed the “gift” while singing a song.
A similar clash also took place in Makassar, South Sulawesi, between security personnel with students of the Muhammadiyah University (Unismuh). (mim/rpt)