Ombudsman slams police for using helicopter to disperse student protesters

CNN Indonesia – September 26, 2020
Police helicopter flies low to disperse student protesters in Kendari – September 26, 2020 (CNN)

Kendari – The Ombudsman’s South-East Sulawesi representative office says that the regional police’s use of a helicopter to forcibly disperse student protesters is a violation of National Police Chief Regulation (Perkap) Number 2/2019 on Riot Control.

On Saturday September 26, a police helicopter flew low over a protest action in front of the South-East Sulawesi regional police headquarters demanding justice for the death of two students in Kendari during mass demonstrations opposing the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) last year.

“The use of helicopters in controlling protests is not in accordance with Perkap Number 2/2019 on Riot Control”, said Ombudsman representative office head Mastri Susilo in a press release sent to CNN Indonesia on Saturday.

The Ombudsman will be looking into the incident and seek clarification from South-East Sulawesi regional police chief (Kapolda) Inspector General Yan Sultra Indrayanto.

“Including field responsibility during the control of protesters on September 26, 2020”, he said.

So far, there has been no official explanation from police about the use of the helicopter and Indrayanto did not respond when contacted via WhatsApp.

Likewise, South-East Sulawesi regional police public relations division head Senior Commissioner Ferry Walintukan has not responded to messages sent by CNN Indonesia.

On Saturday, police deployed a helicopter to disperse protests holding a demonstration to mark the deaths of Randi (21) and Muh Yusuf Kardawi (19) who were allegedly shot dead by police last year.

Hundreds of demonstrators from various different campuses and organisations in Kendari demonstrated at the regional police headquarters. The then proceeded to destroy a razor wire barrier erected by police on the road leading to the police headquarters.

The demonstrators also set fire to tyres and banners which they had brought to the rally resulting in a plumb of smoke rising over the police headquarters.

Not long after giving speeches a police helicopter was deployed and flew over the crowd of demonstrators several times.

The helicopter then returned and flew low over the crowd dispersing demonstrators with the down draft. Journalists and police officers were also scattered by the strong wind.

Students responded by throwing stones and wood at police although at the moment, the demonstration is proceeding peacefully with protesters taking turns to give speeches calling for clarity on the deaths of Randi and Kardawi.

According to one speaker, Indrayanto must be held liable for the bloody incident because he was responsible for security on September 26, 2019. “The Kapolda must be held liable for the deaths of our two friends”, emphasised the speaker.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pembubaran Demo Pakai Helikopter Dinilai Tak Sesuai Perkap”.]