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Massive police, military operation expected in Jakarta on Tuesday
Jakarta Globe - March 26, 2012
Combined with Jakarta police personnel, a total of 22,000 security officers will be on duty to secure the rallies ahead of the fuel price hikes the government has planned for April 1.
"The TNI [the Indonesian Military] will not meet face-to-face with the public. They will stand guard around vital objects," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said in Jakarta on Monday. The "vital" objects, he said, include ports, airports and toll roads.
Police have received a report that at least 8,000 protesters are set to stage protests against the fuel price hikes in Jakarta on Tuesday. The actual figure, however, is expected to be far larger than that, as both labor unions and student organizations have vowed to join the rallies on Tuesday.
They will most likely be concentrated at the usual protest spots, namely the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta, was well as the parliamentary complex in West Jakarta.
The dispatchment of TNI soldiers to secure fuel rallies, which began when the government announced the fuel hike plan earlier last month, have sparked a string of criticism, including from lawmakers and political observers.
Rikwanto said, however, that deploying soldiers to ensure public order was not against the law. "We hope that the protests will run peacefully. If any members of the public feel concerned with information about anarchistic protests, they can simply report it to police," he added.
TNI soldiers were already seen on Monday standing guard at the National Monument (Monas) and the Presidential Palace, among other places in Jakarta. (Antara/JG)