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Jakarta Post

Protesters, police clash as thousands take to streets across country

  • Kharishar Kahfi and Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Jambi/Semarang/Medan/Malang/Makassar/Palembang   /   Wed, September 25, 2019   /   11:20 am
Protesters, police clash as thousands take to streets across country Protesters run after the police shoot tear gas to them in front of West Java Legislative Council in Bandung, West Java on Sept. 24. Earlier, about 2,500 protesters voiced their rejection on the bill on Criminal Code revision, Agrarian Reform bill, Correctional Facility bill and demand the government to cancel the Law on Corruption Eradication Commission. (JP/Arya Dipa)

Student protesters across the country clashed with police officers when thousands once again took to the streets to reject what they perceived as undemocratic government policies. 

The police fired tear gas and used water cannons on students gathered in front of the House of Representatives compound in Senayan, Central Jakarta, after they broke down part of the fence. 

The students intermittently threw plastic bottles at police officers standing guard in front of the gate throughout the afternoon.

Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Harry Kurniawan told journalists that House leaders had invited protesters inside for talks. However, the students rejected the invitation and demanded that House leaders join them outside.

Students also clashed with security personnel in Jambi and Semarang, Central Java. 

In Jambi, at least seven students were taken to the Raden Mattaher Hospital after being exposed to tear gas while protesting in front of the Jambi Legislative Council (DPRD). 

"We have witnessed together the arrogance of the security forces," University of Jambi student union head Ardi Irawan said. Jambi Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In Semarang, students tore down the gate of the Central Java governor's office compound. The situation calmed down after Governor Ganjar Pranowo met with students in front of the building. 

"I ask the students of Central Java to express their aspirations in a peaceful manner," he said. "I will convey your aspirations to the central government."

Chief among the university students' demands are that the government and the House hold off the passage of a number of controversial bills, including revision of the Criminal Code (KUHP), arguing that the bills threatened democracy and civil liberties.

Thousands of students in Malang, East Java, also clashed with police officers during a rally there on Tuesday, when they forced their way into the Malang DPRD compound.

Students threw rocks at police officers guarding the compound. The protest was a repeat of Monday’s protest, during which thousands took to the streets to voice their opposition to the aforementioned bills.  

In Medan, North Sumatra, thousands of students from various areas also held a rally in front of the DPRD building on Tuesday, calling for the House to be disbanded on the grounds of public betrayal for the passing of the controversial Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) revision bill.

A clash also broke between students and hundreds of police officers when the former attempted to break through the fence into the DPRD compound.

Students burned tires to express their disappointment in the performance of the government and the House. (kmt)

 Jon Afrizal, Suherdjoko, Apriadi Gunawan, Aman Rochman, Andi Hajramurni and Yulia Savitri contributed to this report.