Violence erupted again on Jakarta streets on Wednesday afternoon, paralyzing parts of the capital as high school students protesting controversial bills that would criminalize sex outside of marriage and clashed with security personnel.
Hundreds of high school students wearing their school uniforms gathered on Jl. Palmerah Timur in Central Jakarta near a government building adjacent to the House. Protesters reportedly threw stones and firecrackers at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.
At least 200 students had been arrested and taken to a nearby police office for questioning, Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Harry Kurniawan said.
Police stopped students passing the police office. Some of the students were seen taken into the office, while others reportedly tried to avoid the street.
“[We] are seeking justice!” Suhendra, 16, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. Inspired by university students who had spearheaded Tuesday’s rallies, he argued that the pending Criminal Code (KUHP) bill included articles that he deemed “nonsense.”
The controversial draft criminal code including articles that would make consensual sex outside of marriage illegal, outlaw same-sex relations and introduce penalties for insulting the president.
In fact, the parliament had agreed to delay the deliberation of problematic bills. The postponement means that the bills will not be deliberated or passed in the plenary meetings during the last session of the present term, which will end next week, as the deliberations will be continued by the new cohort of lawmakers, including reelected ones, who are due to take their seats in the parliament until 2024 and are scheduled to be installed on Oct. 1.
Whether the problematic articles in the bills will be revised or scrapped remains to be seen.
By The Jakarta Post (ANN) and The China Post
Translated by Carol Kan