Several police officers were injured and 10 students from Bung Karno University were arrested after an antigovernment rally in Central Jakarta turned to chaos on Wednesday.
“The Central Jakarta Police chief [Sr. Comr. Angesta Romano Yoyol] suffered a head injury. He was hit by a stone thrown by the demonstrators,” said Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharudin Djafar.
Angesta was taken to nearby Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital but his injury proved fairly minor. Several other police officers also suffered cuts and bruises as the student protesters hurled rocks at them.
The students were commemorating the death of fellow Bung Karno student Sondang Hutagalung, who set himself on fire in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta last week.
The students wore their blue university jackets, which they smeared in fake blood, and held signs calling on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to resign.
They claimed that the government’s inability to reduce corruption and poverty had been the source of Sondang’s desperation.
Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Untung S. Rajab said officers had been attempting to move the location of the protest, which had crippled traffic on the busy Jalan Diponegoro.
“We were just advising them to relocate because they had caused so much traffic,” Untung said. “As we were in the process of negotiating with them when some protesters started hurling rocks.”
“This is a democratic country. It’s OK to demonstrate, but there are procedures that have to be met,” he added.
Baharudin said 10 students were arrested but none had been charged. One of the demonstrators, who declined to give his name, denied that students had attacked the officers.
“We don’t know why we are being arrested,” the student said. “This is police violence.”