The Jakarta Post
The two-day postelection riots in Jakarta have not only claimed eight lives and injured over 700 others but also taken a toll on the livelihood of small vendors.
Among them was Usma, 64, who lost his kiosk on Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim in Central Jakarta as the items he sold such as cigarettes and beverages were looted by rioters.
“I lost around Rp 20 million (US$1,382). They took the cigarettes and drinks that I sold. There were only two packs of cigarettes remaining,” Usma said on Thursday, kompas.com reported.
He said the looting happened on Wednesday close to midnight when the riot escalated as the rioters on the Sarinah intersection were driven away by the authorities to Gondangdia in Central Jakarta.
He said he had anticipated the riot and closed his kiosk at 11 p.m., but the rioters still broke into the kiosk.
“I had locked the kiosk. When I got back the next morning the kiosk was mostly empty,” Usma said while looking at the white-walled kiosk.
Usma also lost cash and clothes that were stored in the kiosk.
“There were none of my clothes left [at the kiosk],” said the man who had run the business for decades.
Usma said he had reported the incident to the police.
Suhama and Ismail, also vendors of small businesses, found the kiosks where they used to sell instant noodles burned to ashes.
The fire at Sabang police station, which was set alight by rioters on Wednesday, spread to their kiosk adjacent to the building, leaving only a pan and stack of bowls remaining.
They said they suffered Rp 20 million in losses.
Both of them have decided to leave the capital and return to their hometown in Sumedang, West Java, for a while before starting over.
“We will leave today. We will wait for the station to be rebuilt to start the business again,” said Suhama.
All three expressed hope that Jakarta would remain safe and the deadly riots would never happen again. (ami/iwa)