Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Kontras Highlights Police Mistakes in Handling May Day Protesters



Mahinda Arkiyasa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) demanded National Police evaluate their officers in responding to the work of reporters. The commission deemed those police in the lower level lack of knowledge on journalists' task.

    "[Police] must establish thorough dissemination in their low level because most of the violent acts committed by Resort Police and Regional Police," said Kontras coordinator deputy Ferry Kusuma in the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation office, Jakarta, on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

    Ferry explained the police actually possessed an internal regulation on how to respond to an event, including on how to face reporters on duty. However, the rule implementation must be disseminated to the lower level.

    "Officers must further brief police members," he underlined.

    Earlier, a photojournalist from Tempo Prima Mulia and a freelance photojournalist Iqbal Kusumadireza were allegedly assaulted by police. The violence acts against journalist were occurred while Prima and Reza reporting demonstrations in commemorating the International Labour Day or May Day in Bandung. Reza's entire body was injured after being beaten and kicked by the police, while Prima had been strangled and verbally threatened.

    Prima recalled the attack against them was started when he and Reza covered a mob of punk community in the creative industry. At that time, those people who were walking the street starting to vandalize public facilities.

    The turmoil happened when the police started to use force to maintain order against the mob. Police officers who were aware of their acts captured by Prima and Reza's camera intimidated both to remove the footages.

    According to Ferry, the police apparatus had conducted two mistakes at once. First, they conducted wrongdoings because they used violence to control the protesters. Secondly, they tried to hide their mistakes by committing another which was assaulting reporters. "Police members conduct overlapping mistakes," he underlined.

    National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said officers who allegedly attacked Tempo's photojournalist Prima Mulia and a freelance photojournalist Iqbal Kusumadireza have been examined by West Java's Internal Affairs Division (Propam). The police assured they would take firm action against their members if proven wrong.