Security tight ahead of Jokowi’s second swearing-in ceremony

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Armoured vehicles stationed in Jakarta ahead of the Indonesian presidential inauguration on Sunday. AFP

Indonesia is beefing up security ahead of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s swearing-in for his second and final term on Sunday, adding 3,000 troops and policemen to the 27,000 already deployed to guard streets as well as key buildings.

Rallies have also been banned in Jakarta. This follows the series of protests and violent attacks in the capital and some other parts of the country over the past few weeks.

Late last month, massive student protests erupted in Jakarta and other cities over the passing of controversial Bills by Parliament, and last Thursday, chief security minister Wiranto was stabbed twice by a militant linked to the Islamic State (IS) while in Java.

Troops and police officers will be stationed in Jakarta ahead of and during the inauguration, National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told The Straits Times on Tuesday.

Around 24,000 security personnel were deployed in the capital during the last inauguration in 2014.

“Regional policemen in areas such as West Java and Banten will perform their security tasks as supporting units. Other policemen in areas like Central Java and East Java will also guard all events held by the public,” said Brigadier-General Dedi earlier on Monday.

In the capital, security forces will be concentrated in several areas, in particular, the palaces in Jakarta where the inauguration ceremony will take place, he added.

The swearing-in of Jokowi and Vice-President-elect Ma’ruf Amin will be conducted at the Parliament building in Central Jakarta, witnessed by several foreign leaders, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said in a statement on Tuesday that the presidential security detail will ensure security at the Parliament building, while troops and police personnel will be deployed to guard areas near Parliament.

Beginning Monday, police had also started using their discretion to prohibit protests and rallies until inauguration day, he added.

The popular tourist island of Bali is also being closely watched following the arrest of two alleged terrorists last Thursday.

The two men, identified only as “AT” and “ZAI”, had pledged allegiance to IS, Bali police spokesman Hengky Widjaja said in a statement last Saturday.

They were among 27 people arrested by the police’s anti-terror squad Densus 88 in several provinces, including Bali, Lampung, Central Java and Central Sulawesi, during an operation that ended on Tuesday.

AT is a known close associate of “Abu Rara”, the nom de guerre of Syahril Alamsyah, the man who attacked Wiranto, said Widjaja.

Wiranto, a former armed forces chief, was among four high-ranking officials targeted for assassination by suspects linked to a series of street attacks in Jakarta soon after Jokowi’s victory was made official in May.

Jokowi beat his challenger Prabowo Subianto, a former army general, in the April polls.

The police have also blamed militant groups for the riots on May 21 and May 22 that resulted in at least eight deaths and hundreds of injuries.

THE STRAITS TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK