Wazup Jakarta!


Map by Uwe Dedering (CC)

Adam Martin reporting for Vice:

I’ve worked on a few daily papers over the last five years, but I’ve never before written or edited the phrase “the dead officer is understood to have been disemboweled.”

That was one of the early reports from the riot that knocked the head off Jakarta yesterday. A few hundred protestors who were convinced that the city was out to demolish a sacred tomb near Koja port in Tanjung Priok assembled at about 6 AM to stand guard against 2,000 or so public order officers (a security force kind of like police, but who work for a different city administration) who poured into the area, accompanied by two excavators.

It’s not clear which side swung the first club, but by 7ish the scene was a full-fledged battle. Protestors came prepared with machetes and sickles, which they used on the officers and later the cops with total abandon. Molotov cocktails flew, turning about 60 emergency vehicles into smoking piles of rubber and metal, including the massive water-cannon police used to try to disperse the crowd.

By afternoon, the ranks of protestors had swollen into the thousands, and the four televisions in my newsroom were broadcasting live footage of limp, uniformed bodies on the ground surrounded by clusters of men dropping stones on their heads.

As a copy editor on one of the English-language daily papers in the city, I churned through accounts of an officer’s arm cut off and a protestor attacked by vengeful cops who tied his hands, stripped him naked, and beat his head in. Later in the afternoon, groups of protestors wielding sticks stormed the hospital, looking to take revenge on any public order officers who might be there getting treatment. Hospital staff evacuated those officers by sea right out of the port…

[continues at Vice]