Brigitta Belia, Jakarta – A number of people held a demonstration at the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta on Thursday October 26. The protest was marred by the burning of tyres and rocks being thrown at police.
Calling themselves the Guardians of Reformasi Civil Society Coalition (Kompas Reformasi), the group was made up of student organisations, workers, farmers and all elements of society concerned with reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998.
At around 5.20 pm the protesters were still giving speeches. Others could be seen setting fire to old car tyres causing black smoke to billow into the air.
Several protesters tried to get past the concrete barricades that had been installed by police. Those that succeeded in breaking through the barriers were asked to rejoin the ranks of the other demonstrators.
In addition to this, the demonstrators brought posters containing their opposition to the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court (MK) on a judicial review that allows regional heads under 40-years of age to take part in presidential elections.
The posters they brought with them contained messages such as "The president has betrayed reformasi", "Reject political dynasties" and "Restore the MK's neutrality".
Once in a while, the demonstrators could be seen throwing rocks and used bottles at the police. As of this article being published, the protesters were still conveying their aspirations.
Throughout the demonstration the police redirected traffic and appealed to drivers to avoid the Horse Statue area.
"As a result of activities conveying an opinion in the vicinity of the Indosat Horse Statue traffic circle in Central Jakarta, traffic on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in the direction of Harmoni is being redirected to Jl. Budi Kemulian and Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan", wrote the Metro Jaya regional police Traffic Management Centre (TMC) on its Twitter account @TMCPoldaMetro. (jbr/imk)
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo di Patung Kuda, Massa Bakar Ban hingga Lempar Batu ke Petugas".]