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Parking dispute turns to mob violence in Lampung

Antara News - January 25, 2012

At least 83 homes were torched or destroyed on Tuesday afternoon during a clash in South Lampung that stemmed from a petty squabble over a parking fee.

Sources said that a mob burned down at least 60 homes in Sidomulyo subdistrict and destroyed another 23, forcing residents to flee.

The violence broke out when hundreds of people from Kotadalam village descended on the neighboring village of Sidomulyo armed with knives, machetes and bamboo spears. Hundreds of police and military officers were deployed to try to break up the brawl.

The huge melee also forced police to reroute traffic on the Trans-Sumatra highway and close off a section of it between Katibung and Tanjungan villages. Cars and buses passing through the area were ordered to pull into the nearest gas stations for several hours until the crowd dispersed and the security situation eased.

The incident was reportedly sparked when a motorcyclist from Sidomulyo refused to pay Rp 1,000 (11 cents) to a parking attendant at the town's market.

An argument ensued, and he pushed the attendant, from Kotadalam, to the ground. In retaliation, a mob from Kotadalam marched on Sidomulyo and attacked residents' homes.

There were reports of several people injured in the clash, but it remained unclear how many. Although it was broken up by mid-afternoon, groups of armed people lingered in the area.