Ardila Syakriah and Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Jakarta/Surabaya – Legal experts have demanded that the police prove that shooting tear gas and arresting 43 Papuan students at a dorm in Surabaya on Aug. 17 without an investigation was "necessary" just because the police suspected there were "certain items" inside the dorm.
East Java Police spokesperson Frans Barung Mangera said on Friday in Surabaya that an internal police investigation carried out on Thursday revealed that none of the personnel had violated standard operating procedures by using tear gas given the conditions on site.
"First, there was potential for conflict. Second, there had been friction. Third, the personnel discovered certain items that I can't disclose yet. When checked by the police's internal affairs division, the discovered items were found to be potentially harmful for the personnel [...] So the tear gas attacks were justified after they discovered the items there," he said.
Frans refused to disclose the discovered items to reporters, citing that "it was not in the domain of evidence".More than a dozen police personnel from the Mobile Brigade (Brimob), clad in black uniforms, stormed the Papuan student dorm on Jl. Kalasan in Surabaya on Saturday, shooting tear gas into the building from outside the gate while a mob shouted in anger because they thought the students desecrated an Indonesian flag and discarded it in a gutter.
According to an Antara news agency report, the personnel were from Brimob's bomb squad.
Seconds later, the police personnel breached the gate and kept shooting tear gas at the building. According to CNN Indonesia, the raid lasted about 15 minutes before the police arrested 43 students inside the building.