Jakarta. New Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman has sent an ominous warning to demonstrators taking part in today’s antigovernment protests — police will shoot to immobilize if they believed it is justified.
Outgoing National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri recently signed regulation number 1/X/2010, which allows police officers to used live bullets to handle rioters when they become uncooperative and start attacking officers. Officers are only allowed to shoot to immobilize, not to kill.
Sutarman, speaking today, said: “The new regulation will be exercised against anarchic demonstrators.”
He defined anarchic situations as those where public order was under threat and any attacks on security officers or members of the public with any weapon, including blunt or sharp objects or firearms.
“Demonstrations are part of freedom of expression protected by the law, therefore [protests] must be conducted according to the law, peacefully,” he said.
He said the police would undertake preventative measures, which included checking demonstrators for weapons.
“We hope the rally will be peaceful, with no violence at all,” Sutarman said.
A number of protests are currently taking part in the central city, involving students and a number of nongovernmental organizations, including Indonesian Corruption Watch and the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
The protests have only attracted a few hundred demonstrators.
Ironically, Kontras’ campaign theme is “anti-amnesia,” which implores President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government to address outstanding human rights abuses, including the shooting of unarmed student demonstrators in 1998, which led to the downfall of former dictator Suharto.