Jakarta. Around 4,000 personnel were deployed to begin the demolition process of Luar Batang neighborhood in Penjaringan, North Jakarta, on Monday (11/04), as the city is planning to develop a new tourism spot integrated with the old Sunda Kelapa port area.
Eleven excavators were deployed to the area and began tearing down 596 makeshift buildings and permanent homes at 7.15 a.m.
According to Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Muhammad Iqbal, 4,218 personnel from the Jakarta Police, public order agency (Satpol PP) and military were deployed to secure the demolition of makeshift buildings illegally occupying government land.
Minor protest from dozens of residents were reported, including a brief scuffle as security personnel came to the area. But hundreds of families have accepted the government's terms to be moved to low-cost apartments in Marunda and Rawa Bebek in North Jakarta.
The Jakarta administration said there would be no compensation paid to residents of the area, arguing that for years they have been illegally occupying government land.
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, plans to revitalize the three-hectare area as a prime tourism destination in North Jakarta, with the local fish market, the historical Luar Batang Mosque and the nearby Maritime Museum being key attractions.
"They clearly violate the rule," the governor said of illegal residents in the area. "Instead of using the stalls for trading activities, they use them as homes. Our Maritime Museum is crowded by their stalls that are actually used as homes. So, we need to demolish the area, we move the residents, clean the area and return it to its initial concept."
The Jakarta administration plans to turn the entire area into a public space, so that tourists can freely enjoy the Sunda Kelapa Port and surrounding area.