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Protest during Saudi King Salman visit broken up by police, dozens arrested

BBC Indonesia - March 2, 2017

As King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia visited the House of Representatives (DPR) followed by a visit to the Istiqlal Mosque and State Palace in Central Jakarta, a number of activists holding a protest action in front of the Saudi Embassy were arrested by police.

The 50 or so activists from groups defending migrant workers who were demonstrating on the grounds of the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta had only been protesting for around five minutes before police moved in. Police quickly disbursed the group and escorted them away from the area of the Embassy.

During the action, which was tightly guarded by police, police arrested around 12 participants, all of them men. They were released around half-an-hour later according to a report by Hilman Handoni for BBC Indonesia.

This was the second protest action held in Jakarta to mark King Salman's visit to Indonesia. Earlier, three days before the king arrived, a group also held an action on the grounds of the Saudi Embassy. They were protesting military actions against Houthis forces in Yemen by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

This time the demonstration was focused on the fate of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia with protesters calling on Saudi Arabia to release migrant workers who are being detained in the Saudi Kingdom.

One of the speakers said that they are disappointed with the Indonesian government because the issue of migrant workers was not discussed during a meeting between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and King Salman.

"There was not one MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] signed related to migrant workers. Yet Jokowi pledged to protect migrant workers during his presidential campaign as part of Nawacita [Nine point program]".

"We are also disappointed at how the police treated us, arresting our colleagues", said one of the protesters Dinda Nurannisa Yura.

Amid shouts from police ordering them to disburse immediately or be arrested, the demonstrators were forced back until they finally disbursed.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Aksi anti Raja Salman di Kedubes Saudi, sejumlah orang sempat ditangkap".]

Source: http://www.bbc.com/indonesia/indonesia-39137848.

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