Violent rallies continue as students clash with police

Hundreds of students from several campuses clashed with police in Makassar on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving three police posts and the student organization’s secretariat office damaged.

A clash also flared up between students and local residents in which either side hurled rocks at each other.

Thursday’s clash was a follow-up of Wednesday, when rallies held in the wake of the plenary session by the House of Representatives in Jakarta, turned violent with students blockading the streets and pelting stones, damaging traffic lights and government offices.

Wednesday’s riot left a police officer injured. In retaliation, several members of the 88 Special Detachment raided   the  secretariat’s office of  the Association of Islamic Students (HMI).

That evening, the South Sulawesi Police office and the HMI officials came to a compromise that the clashes were not institutional but personal.

While deploring the anarchist actions by the students, police chief Insp. Gen. Adang Rochjana expressed his concern over the assault on the HMI office and extended an apology.

However, not all students accepted the compromise, which led to Thursday’s flare-up of violent protests.

The students attacked the police posts with logs and stones. The mob also vented their anger by vandalizing billboards and traffic light. Traffic was redirected as the roads became strewn with rocks.

The students barricaded the main street by holding up two trucks, which cut access from
the city to the southern part of the province, and laid waste to a nearby police post that was unattended.

At one point, hundreds of local residents decided to take the law into their own hands and chase the students away. When the students regrouped and fought back, the local residents were themselves chased from the area.

The clashes took place in front of the campuses of the State Islamic University (UIN) Alauddin Hasanuddin University and University of Muslim Indonesia.

Anti-terror police were deployed to disperse the students, they fired tear gas to little effect as protesters continued to launch hit-and-run attacks on the police.

The police finally herded the students onto the university’s campus.

The students suspected police of provoking residents into clashing and playing part in event assaulting the police posts.

Police chief Adang promised stern action against those responsible for the commotion.

“I will act on whoever involved in anarchism from Wednesday and Thursday…be they students or police personnel,” he said.

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