Bayu Marhaenjati – Students across the capital rallied and closed down some streets following the government's announcement of a hike in the price of subsidized fuel on Friday.
Hundreds of students from the National University (Unas) in South Jakarta demonstrated against the decision in front of their campus in Pasar Minggu, while groups closed down Jalan Sawo Manila in Pasar Minggu and blocked traffic by burning tires.
The demonstration took a violent turn when the students started to throw dozens of molotov cocktails and rocks at police officers guarding the demonstration.
"Two of our officers sustained minor injuries from rocks," Pasar Minggu police chief Comr. Adri Desas Fuyanto said. One student, identified as Reza, also sustained a head injury during the demonstration.
Ferry Agus Setiawan, the organizer of the protest, was unrepentant. "We will not stop voicing our opposition for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his regime who have raised the fuel price," he said. "We urge all Indonesian students to come and join the fight because this policy will make a lot of Indonesians suffer."
The protest began forming at around 10 p.m. on Friday and gathered momentum into the early hours, with protesters refusing to comply with police requests to bring the demonstration to an end. While the pleas of armed law enforcers fell on deaf ears, the demonstration was eventually brought to a close after irate local residents came out and politely asked the students to keep the noise down.
"Please act with intelligence, don't force your beliefs on other people," Khadir, a local resident said to students. "Let's have a discussion. And stop using violence, please."
In Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, hundreds of students from the Institute of Political and Social Science (IISIP) came out on Friday night. They blocked the main road connecting Jakarta to Depok by burning down tires, which blocked traffic until early Saturday morning.
South Jakarta police chief, Comr.Sr.Wahyu Hadiningrat, said he had tried to persuade the students to go home, again to no avail. Dozens of officers were assigned to the demonstration and officers eventually used tear gas to push the students back.