The Jakarta Post
City thoroughfares are busy again as they were reopened on Tuesday after being closed for around a week following protests staged by supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto that turned into riots in Central and West Jakarta on May 21 and 22.
Riots broke out in the vicinity of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on the night of May 21 and spread to other locations, such as nearby Tanah Abang and Slipi in West Jakarta, where Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said eight people died, while hundreds were injured, including journalists and humanitarian workers.
The riots caused authorities to close some sections of roads in Central Jakarta, namely Jl. MH Thamrin, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara and Jl. Majapahit in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace and the Constitutional Court building, and Jl. Imam Bonjol where the General Elections Commission (KPU) is located. Traffic around the House of Representatives complex was also rerouted.
“All the roads have been reopened on Tuesday,” head of law enforcement of the Jakarta Police traffic division, Comr. Muhammad Nasir, said as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday, adding that only two lanes of Jl. MH Thamrin had been reopened as the police still needed to locate movable concrete barriers in front of the Bawaslu building.
The May 22 incident also prompted managers of buildings and businesses in the area to cease operations over safety concerns.
Prominent shopping centers such as Sarinah, Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia as well as Southeast Asia's largest textile market in Tanah Abang were among the places impacted by the rioting, which compelled them to close for several days causing estimated losses of more than Rp 1 trillion.
Traders in Tanah Abang Market alone suffered Rp 200 billion (US$13.9 million) per day in lost revenue due to the closure.
The re-opening of Jl. MH Thamrin has also resumed the operation of city-owned Transjakarta buses passing by the area.
Previously, some routes, such as Transjakarta’s Corridor 1 serving Blok M to Kota, needed to be modified following road closures and traffic diversion.
“From today on, Transjakarta will resume picking up and dropping off passengers as usual,” PT Transjakarta spokeswoman Nadia Diposanjoyo said.
Governor Anies has expressed hope that the re-opening of the roads would not trigger further violence in the area.
The governor went on to say that the city administration has assigned its agencies, including health, environmental and fire and rescue agencies, to keep monitoring the area for possible disturbances.
“Our authorities are always ready in those areas,” Anies said. (das)