image crop from video footage from Kompas TV

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Anti-riot police fired tear gas at protesters, who were throwing stones to the police’ barricade in Jakarta, on Monday (09/30), amid a bigger outcry over controversial legal reforms, including the revision in the country’ criminal code and the weakening of the graft buster agency.

In what apparently becoming a widespread protests nation-wide, two students were reportedly have died, while hundreds more were injured as legal enforcers reacted violently against the protesters across the nation, just weeks before President Joko Widodo is inaugurated for his second term as the President of the world’s third-biggest democracy.

Randy, a high school student from Depok city in West Java, said he decided to participate to the rally on his own will. Randy was interviewed by Tempo on Monday before he jumped to a bus, along with dozens of other students. “According to info I received, if we go by train, we would be stopped by the police,” he said.

When asked what was his intention, he said he just want to join the rally and voiced out concerns about what he believed as wrong regarding the government’s push to enact and revise a number of controversial laws. He said, “Nobody told me to go, I watched the television and I decided I want to participate.”

Indonesia has successfully revised its new law that governs the country’ Corruption Eradication Commission. The draft law previously raised controversy and anger among the public, as people were just informed within a short period of time and realized the revision would severely weaken the commission.

Then there were other laws also not less problematic. One of the most highlighted is about the country’s criminal code, which introduces new concept that surprises the general public, including potential penalties for husbands raping wife, a punishment for beggars, potential charges for women to go outside in the night to potential criminal charges for pets trespassing other people’s home and cause damages one’ property.

The House of Representative had agreed to postpone deliberations of some of the draft revisions of existing laws, including the criminal code, the correctional procedure law, land law and mining law after President Joko Widodo requested for it last week.

The President had ordered a delay over some problematic law revisions on Sept. 20 and asked the next legislators to carry over the job. New legislators are due to be sworn in on Tuesday, and among the tough jobs within their shoulders are to review 14 articles that had faced strong criticism, including plans to cut the penalties for graft convictions.

Existing lawmakers had previously resisted the demand, saying they could fix the revision bill before their term ends.

The rallies have started to escalate since last week and some said the series of rally could be considered as some of the biggest since the 1998 student protests that toppled former Indonesian strongman Suharto.

Last week, Widodo said he would consider revoking the controversial revised corruption law and ordered police restraint themselves after two student protesters were dead, one of whom died of bullet wounds.

Writing by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com