Looted Street Vendors Receive Financial Assistance From Jokowi
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has met with street vendors whose stalls were looted during last week's riots and given them financial assistance to restart their business.
One of the street vendors, Usma, who had a stall on Jalan Wahid Hasyim, one the main flashpoints of the rioting, was invited to the State Palace in Jakarta to meet the president on Monday.
Interviewed after the meeting, Usma was reluctant to mention how much money the president gave him, but did show off some shirts that were given to him.
"We chatted for a while. He gave me some shirts and extra money for shopping," Usma said.
The stall owner said he lost around Rp 20 million ($1,400) worth of cigarettes, food and drinks stolen during the riots. Mobs also tried to set fire to his makeshift stall.
Last Friday, the president also met with two other street vendors – Abdul Rajab and Ismail – who were also victims of looting during the riot on May 22.
"None of us wants an incident like this to happen again," Abdul said after meeting the president at the Merdeka Palace on Friday.
The 62-year-old said his kiosk was looted by a mob as they were being driven back by security forces.
As they ran to save themselves, the mob pelted his kiosk with rocks and stole cigarettes and drinks from it.
Abdul's total losses amounted to around Rp 30 million.
"Yes, they [the mob] went on a looting rampage as they ran away from the police," Abdul said.
The other street merchant, Ismail, sells instant noodles and drinks next to a police station on Jalan H. Agus Salim, better known as Jalan Sabang, just around the corner from the demonstrators' main target, the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) building.
The mobs also pelted the police station with rocks and then burned down his tiny stall.
"I couldn't do anything. There were too many of them," the 68-year-old said. He said most of the rioters were still in their teens.
Ismail said he lost Rp 20 million during the riots.
Ismail and Abdul also received financial assistance from Jokowi.
"The president said he will give us money to start over. I don't know how much, we don't know yet," Abdul said after the meeting.
"I hope I can open up my stall again. I've been doing this for 20 years," he said.Tags: