World, Asia - Pacific

Students across Indonesia protest price hikes

1000-strong crowd marches to presidential palace in Jakarta protesting increased prices of chili, electricity and fuel

12.01.2017
Students across Indonesia protest price hikes File Photo

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia

Students took to the streets in major cities across Indonesia on Thursday, calling on the government to reduce the price of certain commodities and public services.

In the capital Jakarta, a thousand-strong crowd marched toward the presidential palace and parliament building with the intention of meeting with President Joko Widodo to convey their demands.

Some protesters carried posters while others performed theatrical gestures aimed at representing the suffering caused on people by a rise in electricity and fuel costs.

A demonstration coordinator told Anadolu Agency that they were protesting against the increased prices of some basic necessities -- including chili products that are a key ingredient of Indonesian cuisine, electricity, fuel and public services at the police station -- in early 2017.

"When fuel goes up, automatically all prices also rise, such as chili and other needs. This policy is not pro-people and will potentially cause a setback for Indonesia," said Ikhsan Munawar.

He warned that students would hold even bigger protests if their demands went unheeded.

"They [government] should have been aware, today we took to the streets across Indonesia to convey the aspirations of the people," he said.

Around 2,000 police were deployed during the protest, which is due to end at 6.00 p.m. (1100GMT).

The government increased the price of non-subsidized fuel earlier this month, and also decided to gradually revoke electricity subsidies for customers who were recently deemed to no longer qualify.

Meanwhile, the market price for peppers rose three- to four-fold of their normal price -- an increase the government has attributed to harvest failures due to continuous heavy rainfall during 2016.

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