Investigate student’s death and protect protesters

Responding to the killing of a student protester during a rally in Southeast Sulawesi today, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“Today’s killing of a student shows that police tactics are not keeping protesters safe. Authorities must urgently establish the facts of this fatal shooting in a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation.

“There has been widespread evidence of police attacking students and using excessive force since protests erupted on 23 September. While the exact circumstances of today’s events are not yet established, it’s clear that the unlawful use of excessive force by police is contributing to a volatile situation. The priority must be to prevent further loss of life and ensure that security forces are protecting people’s human rights.”

Background

On Thursday, hundreds of students staged a protest in front of the local parliament building in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi. Clashes broke out between protesters and the police afterwards. A student from Halu Oleo University in Kendari was shot in the chest during the unrest. The hospital that received the body of the student confirmed that he died of a gunshot wound. The police have denied shooting the student, saying that their personnel were not equipped with lethal ammunition in handling today’s demonstration. Local media reported that there are three other students currently being treated at the same hospital,  one of them is in a critical condition.