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Rempang Riots: Residents Afraid of Getting Arrested

Translator

Ririe Ranggasari

Editor

Laila Afifa

12 September 2023 23:08 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The villages in Rempang seemed empty and quiet following the chaotic demonstration that took place in front of the BP Batam Office on Tuesday afternoon, 12 September 2023. Residents did not dare to leave their homes because of circulating rumors that the police were looking for perpetrators of anarchy.

This rumor is spreading by word of mouth among Rempang residents. "We are still afraid now, they say the police are looking for those of us who demonstrated yesterday," said one resident who wishes to remain anonymous.

Riau Islands Police's PR chief, Sr. Comr. Zahwani Pandra Arsyad said that those who did not do anything shouldn’t be afraid. "Tell the public to be calm. If they didn’t do anything, they will not be arrested," Zahwani said.

He went on to ensure that the police had identified the anarchists and that only they would be processed.

The police, he said, were searching for the perpetrators all the way to Bintan. He said there were at least 43 people arrested because they were known to have committed anarchy, from throwing stones, vandalism, and abuse. "There is no way we will arrest those who did nothing. Residents can go ahead and carry out their activities as usual," he said.

The indigenous melayu residents staged a demonstration at the BP Batam Office which led to chaos. The incident caused damages to the BP Batam office and dozens of police officers were injured.

The protesters turned to anarchy after their demands regarding the rejection of the relocation of the old village of Rempang Island were not accommodated, including a demand to release eight residents who were detained.

YOGI EKA SAHPUTRA

Editor's Choice: Jokowi Appoints Investment Minister to Resolve Rempang Island Conflict

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