Indonesian police assault students and journalists in Makassar

Indonesian police assault students and journalists in Makassar
Indonesian police kicks a news photographer outside the campus of the State University of Makassar in Makassar.

Hundreds of policemen raided the Makassar State University (UNM) on Thursday and reportedly assaulted students, chasing them into classrooms, injuring a number of them and vandalizing facilities and infrastructure.

The police also commandeered the memory card of a camera belonging to a photographer with the Quran Tempo newspaper, Iqbal Lubis. The policemen also allegedly assaulted Vincent Waldy, a correspondent for Metro TV, with shields, causing his left temple to bleed. Vincent received five stitches at the Faisal Islamic Hospital in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Waldy was assaulted when he was trying to prevent the policemen from confiscating Iqbal's camera.

"I was taking the pictures of policemen beating students who were in their classroom when suddenly a policeman grabbed my camera and prohibited me from taking pictures while others were kicking me," Iqbal said.

"When I told them that I am a journalist and showed them my ID card, Waldy came to call off the standoff but he was hit in the head with a shield."

Iqbal said his camera was immediately returned but not the memory card.

Other journalists were also reportedly assaulted by the police.

"We showed our press cards but the policemen did not pay attention. We were beaten and now I have swelling on my head," said Muhammad Rifky from Celebes Online.

The police raided the UNM campus after a clash occurred between the students and police officers when the students closed a road during a rally against a planned increase in subsidized fuel prices.

During the clash, the Makassar City Police deputy chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Totok Lisdianto, was shot in the right armpit with an arrow. Totok had to undergo surgery at the Mappaodaang Police Hospital to remove the arrow head.

Separately, South and West Sulawesi Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Endi Sutendi said he suspected that Totok being shot by an arrow had incited the policemen emotionally, prompting them to conduct the assault against the UNM campus.

"We apologise for the incident, for our policemen beating journalists and raiding the UNM campus. We regret the incident," Endi said.

He said the police would investigate the incident and punish any policemen found guilty.

Meanwhile, the journalists who were allegedly beaten by the police have filed reports with the Makassar City Police and demanded the perpetrator be arrested and processed immediately.

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