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Indonesian Police Chief Orders Inquiry After 5 shot in Protest

Indonesia’s police chief on ordered a rare probe into his men’s violent handling of a protest near Jakarta in which at least five people were wounded by shotguns as 33 arrests were made.General Da’i Bachtiar told reporters the inquiry would identify whether police used excessive force to crush Monday’s protest in the village of Bojong against a new waste processing plant after public outcry over the incident. “There must be an investigation of our own personnel. Were conditions that bad to warrant such actions?” he said. Violent handling of public protests in Indonesia often prompts complaints of police brutality, but most claims are swept under the carpet and attempts to prosecute officers rarely result in heavy punitive action. Rights activists said Monday’s police action underlined the need for a watchdog to curb the excesses of law enforcers in a country still coming to terms with civil rights after decades of dictatorship. “Shooting by the police should really be a last resort. There should be actions to determine whether such shootings were warranted,” Ifdhal Kasim, the executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, said. An independent National Commission for the Police was ordered to be created under new legislation passed last year, but has yet to materialise. Full Story

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