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Protest in Jakarta ends in chaos after students set fire to tyres

Detik.com - October 20, 2011

Ari Saputra, Jakarta Ė A protest action commemorating the second year of the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and Vice President Boediono ended in chaos after students set fire to tyres in front of the State Palace in Jakarta.

At around 4pm on Thursday October 20, fifty or so students from the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (PMII) suddenly set fire to the tyres on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in front of the Palace. They also sang the national anthem Indonesia Raya.

When the protesters began to get out of control the police, who had formed a line opposite the Palace, moved in and tried to put the fires out. The PMII students fought back and a scuffle between students and police was unavoidable.

The police were finally able to bring the situation under control and extinguish the fires. But as soon as the students had calmed down, around 100 additional protesters arrived and tried to break through the police line.

Once again the demonstrators and police were involved in a scuffle. This time the protesters were more audacious and several police officers were struck by bamboo sticks brought by the students.

The police continued to hold the protesters back and they were unable to break through the police line. In the end the students retreated and decided to hold speeches condemning the Yudhoyono administration. As of 4.25pm the protest action was still continuing. (ndr/vit)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]

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