Rioters can be arrested: Jusuf Kalla

Kalla added that people were allowed to protest against the government`s plan to raise the price of subsidized fuel oils, but they will be arrested if found committing anarchy.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Anyone found rioting or resorting to anarchism during demonstrations against oil price hike can be detained, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said here on Friday.

"I appreciate that the police have taken firm action. Rioters must be detained. Yesterday, four were arrested because they were involved in rioting by pelting stones," he told newsmen.

Kalla added that people were allowed to protest against the governments plan to raise the price of subsidized fuel oils, but they will be arrested if found committing anarchy.

"That is how the law works," he remarked.

With regard to the demonstrations in Makassar, Kalla, who hails from the city in South Sulawesi, noted that local students were, indeed, dynamic and always protested any policy implemented by the government.

He pointed out that the demonstration, which had led to violence, was a small one, participated by only some 10 to 20 students.

They resorted to vandalism because of the presence of a television crew, Kalla explained, adding that the demonstration stopped soon after the crew left.

"That is Makassars style. Its true that a demonstration was staged, but there were not many protesters and it was not a big incident," he remarked.

Moreover, the vice president affirmed that he had summoned a number of university rectors from Makassar but that it was known that the protests were organized by a group of people and not the universities.

The Rector of Hasanudin University, Dwia Aries Tina Palubuhu, stated that university rectors in Makassar would let law enforcement officials arrest students if they were proven guilty of committing anarchy in the recent demonstrations against fuel price hike.

"We made a commitment with security agencies, including the regional military and police commands, to let them arrest students who resorted to anarchy in the demonstration by blocking roads and burning tires," she assured after a meeting with the vice president on Thursday.

She came along with rectors from the State Makassar University, University 45, Indonesia Muslim University, State Alauddin Islamic University, and Muhammadiyah University.

Palubuhu noted that the rectors had reported the students demonstrations rejecting the governments plan to raise the price of subsidized fuel oils to the vice president.

Furthermore, Vice President Jusuf Kalla appealed to the rectors, urging them to explain the policy to the students so that they understand the real reason behind the planned hike.

He told them that the decision to raise the price of subsidized fuel oils was taken to reallocate the subsidy to improve other sectors, such as the education sector.

The National Police Command has sent a team of investigators to probe the case of violence allegedly committed by police officers during a recent students demonstration in Makassar to protest the governments plan to raise the price of subsidized oils.

"We will look into the incident," the Head of the Public Information Bureau of the commands public relations division, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar, said here on Friday.

Three journalists covering the protest held by students at the State Makassar University in South Sulawesi were victims to the violence. They included Iqbal from Tempo, Waldy from Metro TV, and Ikrar from Celebes TV. Other journalists had their memory cards forcibly taken from them.

Furthermore, journalists strongly criticized the incident and the violent acts of the police.

Hundreds of members of the Indonesia Photojournalist Association (PFI) staged a demonstration here on Friday to condemn the violence inflicted on journalists by police officers.(*)

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