Jakarta office workers still turn up to work on Wednesday despite commuting hiccups due to last night's election protest riots. (B1 Photo/Alex Madji)
Keep Calm and Carry On, Jakartans Say
BY :JEANY AIPASSA, VENTO SAUDALE, ALEX MADJI, DION BISARA
MAY 22, 2019
Jakarta. Most streets in Central Jakarta were calm on Wednesday morning, as police managed to isolate clashes with supporters of Prabowo Subianto to a small area in the city center.
Detours were applied on public buses and road blocks prevented access to main roads and train stations near Jalan Sudirman and Jalan M.H. Thamrin, where the city's main business district is located.
But office workers in the area were seen carrying out their activities as usual.
Egi, 29, who works in an office on Jalan Thamrin, arrived early this morning to beat the crowd that he thought was going to continue their protest in front of the Election Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters, close to his building.
"It turned out the roads were empty," Egi said.
"Everything is calm. Many police officers are on guard [out on the streets]. I feel safe going to the office on my own today," he said.
Another worker Alvi, 27, who works at the Prudential Tower on Jalan Sudirman, said his commute from East Jakarta today was free of the usual traffic jam. He saw no crowd of protesters on his way to the office.
"All the way from Kalibata, Duren Tiga, Mampang, Rasuna Said to Sudirman, the roads were practically empty," Alvi said.
Alvi said he was encouraged to see the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) working together to keep situation under control.
"I saw no demonstrators. Maybe they went to the Bawaslu office, so Sudirman area is safe," Alvi said.
Supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto have been gathering in front of the Bawaslu office in Central Jakarta since Tuesday.
The police dispersed the protesters after the Ramadan night prayer around 9 p.m. yesterday.
Indonesian police currently have a regulation preventing street protest beyond 6 p.m.but they let things pass on Tuesday so the protesters could stay on until they finished their prayer.
But a different group of protesters came to the same spot a couple of hours later, escalating clash with police officers by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.
The police pushed back the rioters, who stood their ground in back alleys in Petamburan and Jatibaru, near the Tanah Abang train station.
The police are now concentrating their force to guard the Bawaslu and the General Elections Commission (KPU) offices, and to keep the crowds in Petamburan and Jatibaru under control.
KAI Commuter Jabodetabek, the operator of Jakarta's commuter train, has closed two gates at the Tanah Abang station which face Petamburan and Jatibaru, fearing that unsuspecting passengers would run into protesters remaining in the area.
"We only open the north access. But we encourage passengers to alight at other stations to avoid the rioting," the operator announced through the station's loudspeaker.
Antara news agency reported clashes between the rioters and the police were happening closer to the station this morning. Several train passengers said they could smell the fumes from the police's tear gas.
Detours were applied on a number of Transjakarta bus routes, including corridor 1 (Blok M-Kota), 4A (Grogol-TU GAS), 4C (Senayan-TU GAS Roundabout), 5A (Melayu-Grogol) and 6A (Ragunan-Monas).
Transjakarta services to Tanah Abang area, such as Tanah Abang-Batusari (8K), Tanah Abang-Blok M (1N) and Tanah Abang-Kebayoran Lama (8C), were suspended.
"In addition, tourist and free bus services are temporarily unavailable," Transjakarta managing director Agung Wicaksono said in a written statement on Wednesday.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said 200 people were injured in the clash between police and rioters last night.
Anies also said there have been six people dead since last night, but authorities say they are still investigating the cause of deaths, including by performing autopsies.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. M. Iqbal said police are still checking information on the casualties and will announce it to the public later.
He confirmed that security officers from the National Police and the Military were not equipped with lethal weapons at the protests last night.
The Jakarta administration said earlier they will pay for the treatment of injured demonstrators.
Anies said security forces have managed to isolate the clashes in a small area of Central Jakarta.
"The rest of Jakarta is safe. Please carry on with your activity as usual," Anies said after inspecting a police barricade in front of the Bawaslu office this morning.
Anies also call on people to refrain from sharing videos of the clashes on social media.
"Please, put [the incident] in proportion. A ten-second video means an incident happened in those ten seconds, not all the time," he said.
"Let's not rush to forward [any info on social media] without checking if it's accurate," Anies said.