Police break up National Education Day rally in Makassar, 22 arrested

CNN Indonesia – May 2, 2024
Makassar State University student commemorate National Education Day in Makassar – May 2, 2024 (CNN)

Makassar – Police have broken up a demonstration by students commemorating National Education Day (Hardiknas) in front of the Alauddin State Islamic University (UIN) and Muhammadiyah University Makassar (Unismuh) campuses in Makassar, South Sulawesi. Dozens of students were arrested at the two locations.

The National Education Day actions were was held along Jalan Sultan Alauddin which is the Trans Sulawesi route connecting Makassar with Gowa Regency. The students closed off the road by burning used tyres resulting in a traffic jam.

"There were two points, first at Alauddin, the second in front of Unismuh, eerier they were warned to keep it orderly but apparently they did not heed this and instead closed off the entire road, burning tyres, and throwing stones, it was this that we brought under control", said Makassar metropolitan district police chief Senior Commissioner Mokhamad Ngajib on Thursday May 2.

It was during this, said Ngajib, that scores of students at the actions were arrested by police. "There were several that we secured from Unismuh, there were 22 from Alauddin, meanwhile we are still collecting data", he said.

Meanwhile the students taking part in the actions have already disbursed voluntarily.

When officers conducting a sweep of the Unismuh Campus, they found evidence in the form of a badik (small straight dagger) and narcotics.

"As a follow up we will conduct an examination and if it meets the elements of a criminal act we will take firm action. We are urine testing all of them as well", he said.

Ngajib confirmed that the situation in Makassar city after the protest action was disbanded is secure and conducive. "Everything's secure and conducive, this was a violation and created nervousness among other residents. The others have already gone [home]", he said.

May Day arrests highlighted

A number of students who are members of the People's Sovereignty Committee from the Makassar State University (UNM) also held a protest action commemorating National Education Day under the Flyover bridge.

During the action, the students highlighted a demonstration at the UNM commemorating International Labor Day (May Day) on Wednesday in which police entered the campus and arrested five students.

"Because they only think about the orders from the government to silence the voices of students", said one of the speakers on Thursday.

According to the students the police should carry out reforms as an institution. "Today's state apparatus should clean themselves up, they must carry out reform within the institution", they said.

They accused the police saying they should be protecting the community, not be an institution that silences students. "The police must be the protectors of the community, not make the community frightened", they said.

"Like what happened last night when they entered the campus secretariat, let us ask what the secretariat is. The secretariat was a secret place of their mothers and fathers. They should not enter just any old way", said the speaker.

The student demonstration commemorating National Education Day 2024 was monitored by at least 1,800 joint police personnel. "For security on this Hardiknas we deployed 1,800 personnel", said Ngajib. (mir/kid)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles by CNN Indonesia on May 2. The original title of the article was "Polisi Bubarkan Demo Hardiknas di Makassar, 22 Mahasiswa Ditangkap".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240502185556-12-1093214/polisi-bubarkan-demo-hardiknas-di-makassar-22-mahasiswa-ditangkap