On September 9, 2022, police assaulted and detained an estimated 11 students affiliated with the Islamic Students’ Association (HMI), for holding a protest against fuel price increases during a visit from Indonesia’s vice president, who had refused to revoke the increases.
Approximately 20 students participated in the march and gathered in a plaza where leaders of the group attempted to give speeches. They were interrupted by members of a local community organization and by the police, who ordered the students to disperse. When the group did not comply, the police reportedly assaulted several students and forcibly detained roughly 11. In a video, officers are seen placing a demonstrator in a headlock and pushing others into vehicles.
The detained students were transported to a police station and held for 2 hours, during which investigators reportedly questioned them regarding the motive of their demonstration. The students were released following the arrival of their lawyer. It is unclear as of this report what if any charges were brought against the students.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the assault and detention of students, in apparent retaliation for nonviolently exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting nonviolent expressive activity. The detention of students for nonviolent expression, undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.