Jakarta – Police have forced protesters demonstrating against the attendance of Myanmar military commander General Min Aung Hlaing at the ASEAN Ministerial Level Conference (KTT) in Jakarta away from the meeting into the nearby Agung Al-Azhar Mosque area.
The peaceful action was organised by the Leaders and Organizers of Community Organizations in Asia (LOCOA) in front of the ASEAN secretariat building in South Jakarta on Saturday April 24.
The police had asked the protesters to move back from the ASEAN secretariat building. A scuffle broke out when police began forcing demonstrators away from the meeting venue. Police eventually maneuvered the protesters into the Agung Al-Azhar Mosque area.
Metro Jaya regional police traffic director Sambodo Purnomo Yogo said that they had intentionally forced the protesters away in order to sterilise Jalan Sisingamaraja or the area in front of the ASEAN secretariat building.
"State guests will be passing through the Sisingamaraja route, so we pushed them further inside so that it would not disrupt the passing guests", he said at the location on Saturday.
Yogo emphasised that they did not prohibit the demonstrators from conveying their views. "Please go ahead (and demonstrate) but inside", he said.
In an official press release LOCOA said it regretted that the ASEAN Ministerial Level Conference to discuss the Myanmar crisis did not invite the legitimate government of Myanmar.
"LOCOA strongly condemns ASEAN and its member states because they invited the military junta to the KTT ASEAN", read Saturday's official release.
LOCOA also slammed the military junta for its violent actions against peaceful protesters in Myanmar and for committing illegal killings, arrests, torture and imprisonment with total impunity.
They demanded that the military end the violence against peaceful demonstrators and civilians and urged the United Nations to immediately send a monitoring and humanitarian support mission to Myanmar.
As has been reported, the ASEAN ministerial level meeting held in Jakarta on Saturday will be discussing the crisis taking place in Myanmar. Myanmar's military commander General Min Aung Hlaing who launched the coup d'etat against the civilian government is also attending the meeting. (dmi/arh)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polisi Sekat Pedemo Junta Myanmar di Kawasan Masjid Al-Azhar".]