TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Medical Emergency Response Committee (MER-C) Indonesia adviser Joserizal Jurnalis stated that levelling baseless accusation of ambulances carrying stones was erroneous that can harm the existing system and disadvantage soldiers in war zone.
"Accusing ambulances of carrying them without prior thorough checking is a mistake. However, if an ambulance carries stones, weapons, or guns, then it is wrong," Jurnalis remarked here on Saturday.
In line with war regulations, an ambulance must not carry weapons or stones, he noted.
"However, if an ambulance does not carry those, one must not make an accusation," the humanitarian activist and medical practitioner stated.
Such a claim can harm the existing system and be disadvantageous to soldiers in war zone.
"If in a war zone, no one is willing to evacuate the injured ones, how would it be? It concerns the system," the alumni of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Indonesia (UI) stated.
One should take a cue from the repressive, excessive maltreatment meted out by security officers to demonstrators and medical teams during the May 21-22 riot in Jakarta, he stated. Hundreds of people suffered injuries, while nine were killed during the riot.
"Since the incident that took place during the May 21-22 riot, I have said that the police must read the Geneva Convention, so they gain a broad understanding of how to handle a medical team, religious figures, and prominent public figures during a war, Jurnalis remarked.
He pointed to regular protocol followed by security officers to conduct thorough checks of ambulances in conflict-stricken areas, though the process should be executed in a proper and polite manner.
"This is a standard procedure. However, prior to checking, they greeted us and explained that they would conduct checking. I allowed them. Checking is necessary in a war zone," he recollected his experiences while aiding injured victims in Afghanistan.
However, he opined that the move to herd the ambulances of the Jakarta Government and Red Cross (PMI) to the Jakarta Police Headquarters for checking without first determining the truth was unwarranted for and excessive.
"That has gone too far. The norm is that it should be checked first and to not take them immediately," he stated.
Joserizal, who had helped victims of conflicts and wars in various Indonesian regions and overseas, such as Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Mindanao (the Philippines), and southern Thailand, reminded security officers to not be excessive in their handling of demonstrators, beyond treatment in war zone.
Security officers must also prioritize the movement of ambulances to assist the injured without any hindrances.
The Jakarta Police had earlier admitted to having levelled a false accusation of the ambulances of the Jakarta Government and PMI carrying stones and gasoline for demonstrators in Jakarta on early Thursday, Sept 26, 2019.
The police later returned the six ambulances and their crew members that it had detained. Several paramedics had suffered injuries during the incident.
The rallies in Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, and several other regions on Tuesday (Sept 24) turned chaotic, as the police resorted to using water cannons and firing tear gas to disperse the demonstrating students. Some police chased students and battered them with clubs, causing injuries to several of them.
The Jakarta Police deployed some 18 thousand of its officers to guard the Parliament building in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Chief of the Jakarta Police Inspector General Eddy Pramono noted that 39 police officers and 265 students were injured in the clashes, with 11 students in need of hospital treatment on September 24, 2019.
On Sept 25, thousands of senior high school and vocational school students had demonstrated to express their solidarity with the university students in Jakarta and other cities.
On Sept 26, thousands of students from universities in several regions, such as Surabaya, Mataram, Aceh, Garut, Kendari, and Magelang, again held rallies. Two university students from Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, were killed, one of them by a bullet.
The Indonesian Police denied the use of bullets while guarding the massive demonstrations across the country and will form a team to probe the deaths of the two students.
Three journalists, including one from Antara news agency, were injured after being manhandled by police officers while covering the university students’ rally in Makassar, South Sulawesi.