• Rioters set fire to a tire on Jl. Jati Baru, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, on May 22. (Antara/Hafidz Mubarak A)
  • Cars that were burned by rioters are seen following overnight trouble near by the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) in Jakarta on May 22. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

Urgent : Jakarta riot was pre-planned, police say

ASEAN+ May 22, 2019 14:11

By Karina M. Tehusijarana
The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

3,765 Viewed

The riot that followed a protest in front of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters in Central Jakarta on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning was premeditated, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. M. Iqbal said on Wednesday.



 

 

 

"We have detained 58 people suspected to be provocateurs of the riot," Iqbal said at a press conference at the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister headquarters in Central Jakarta. "There are indications that the rioters were mostly from outside Jakarta and that they were paid [to riot]."

He said that the initial protesters in front of the Bawaslu headquarters were peaceful and cooperated with police.

"The protest coordinator asked for permission to break the fast together and perform tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers), which we allowed even though the law states that protests should end by 6:30 p.m.," he said.

He said that at 9:00 p.m., police asked the crowd to disperse, which it did without incident.

"But then around 11:00 p.m., another crowd of unknown origin arrived and started to damage the security barriers [in front of the Bawaslu headquarters]," he said.

Police then drove the crowd, which had started to throw projectiles such as rocks and Molotov cocktails at the security forces, back toward Tanah Abang.

Iqbal said that most of the rioters were not locals, and that police were assisted in calming the crowd by leaders from the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), which is based in the area.

After police had mostly subdued the crowd, another, separate group of people appeared and started attacking the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) dormitories in Petamburan, Cental Jakarta, setting it on fire.

"We found an ambulance with a political party logo that was filled with rocks and other tools," Iqbal said, declining to name the party. "We also confiscated envelopes full of money."

He added that police would continue to interrogate the detained rioters to determine who was behind the riot.

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