The Jakarta Post
Police fire tear gas at protesters during a riot near the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters in Jakarta on May 22. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
As post-election protests escalated into full-blown riots in Jakarta on Wednesday, several countries issued official travel advice informing their citizens who are traveling to Indonesia to exercise caution.
Tourism Ministry spokesperson Guntur Sakti said the United States, Canada, England and Australia were among the countries that had issued such advice to their citizens.
Several Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines also issued similar advice, he added.
The US was the first country to issue travel advice. The US Embassy posted the advice on its official website one week before the planned May 22 “people power” rally.
“Avoid protests, demonstrations and rallies, as these can turn violent without warning. Monitor local media for updates on protest activity,” the Australian government wrote on its official Smartraveller page, adding that its citizens should exercise a high degree of caution.
The Malaysian Embassy has also posted travel advice on its official Twitter page, @MYEmbassyJakarta, since Saturday.
Similarly, other embassies issued travel advice on their official websites and Twitter pages. The alerts were still up as of Thursday.
Guntur said every country was obligated to issue travel advice amid civil unrest to protect their citizens.
“Such warnings do not have any impact on local tourism,” he said on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.
He went on to say that travel advice only served to inform travellers of possible disturbances and violence, and did not prohibit citizens from traveling to other countries.
Travel advice was typically raised to a travel warning when an act of terrorism occurred or war broke out, according to Guntur. Travel warnings prohibited citizens from visiting the country in question, he added. (rfa/kes)
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