News Desk, Jakarta – More than one hundred residents of Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, flocked on Wednesday to the Law and Human Rights Ministry on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta to protest minister Yasonna Laoly after they took offense at a statement made by the official.
"We have deployed around 200 officers to safeguard the protest. We hope the protesters can maintain public order," Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said as quoted by tempo.co.
The Jakarta Police traffic unit posted a reminder to road users on its official Twitter account @TMCPoldaMetro at 12 p.m. to avoid Jl. HR Rasuna Said during the protests.
The protest was staged in response to a statement made by Yasonna during a speech at Jatinegara prison, East Jakarta, on Jan. 16.
The Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) member said that Tanjung Priok was an example of a "slum" and was source of all sorts of crime because of poverty.
"Crime is a social product, crime is a social problem. As a social problem, we all have the same responsibility. Crime mostly occurs in slum areas, not in Menteng," he said, referring to the wealthy neighborhood in Central Jakarta.
"Children in Menteng will not [commit crime], but try visiting Tanjung Priok where crime occurs because people are poor," he added.
Twitter account North Jakarta Mania (@NjmaniaOnline) also posted a video on Wednesday afternoon showing hundreds of motorcycles heading toward Kuningan.
In another post, a video shows the protest taking place in front of the ministry's headquarters.
"Don't you realize, Pak? Crime is not necessarily caused by poverty. Take a look at those corrupt [officials]. They are not our people, they are not from our place [Tanjung Priok]," one protester said, followed by chants from the other protesters.
"This is a peaceful protest and we demand Pak Yasonna take back his words and apologize to the people of Tanjung Priok," the protest coordinator, Warsito, said.
"Of course we are angry. But we want to show that Priok people are polite and civilized. Hence we decided to [hold a peaceful] protest in accordance with [the principles of] democracy," he said, adding that Yasonna had shown prejudice toward the people of Tanjung Priok. (vla)