World: Indonesia's worst political violence in two decades brings out the comically absurd - PressFrom - Australia
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WorldIndonesia's worst political violence in two decades brings out the comically absurd

00:30  25 may  2019
00:30  25 may  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Political violence is violence perpetrated by people or governments to achieve political goals. It can describe violence used by a state against other states (war) or against non-state actors (most notably police brutality, counter-insurgency or genocide).

In some cases, political violence has been carried out in locations where violent conflict was already a problem.This has been the case in parts of the Niger delta, for example, and in central states such as Taraba, Benue, and Plateau that have experienced scores of violent inter-communal clashes over the

It was peak Indonesia.

A shoe salesman setting up shop on the side of the road in central Jakarta as gangs wielding sticks and stones marched past him towards the police barricades, with ambulances whizzing past, sirens blaring, ferrying the wounded to hospital.

On display at the seller's feet, everything an angry mob might need, from fake-Adidas to fake-Nike.

Perhaps he noticed that many of the rioters were not wearing sensible shoes.

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America was certainly no stranger to political violence , but 1968 appeared to bring the bloodletting But 1968 appeared to reinvigorate this legacy of politically motivated violence and cap a decade of “ Violence in the United States has risen to alarmingly high levels,” one government report, issued in

Political violence – pre-colonial and colonial days. Political violence in Sri Lanka can be traced back to Political violence has been broadly categorised as being caused by national fragmentation The coming decades will be critical for these youth because without significant government intervention

Slip-ons and flip-flops were prevalent.

"Mister! Mister! Only 100,000" the seller urged, refusing, over a period of five minutes, to take no for an answer.

Even in the midst of Indonesia's worst political unrest in two decades, which has led to the deaths of at least eight people, there are lighter moments.

Indonesia's worst political violence in two decades brings out the comically absurd© REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan Woman stands in front of a riot-police's barricade after a riot outside Indonesia's Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) headquarters following the announcement of last month's presidential election results in Jakarta. Hawkers, performers, opportunists take to streets, too

The reminders of everyday life that, for a moment, split the oppressive tension wide open, like a smiley-faced emoji peeping through a bloodstained curtain, on the sidelines of the riot, or sometimes in the midst of it.

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Political violence in Turkey became a challenging problem in late 1970 s . The violence was even described as a "low-level war". The death squads of Turkish right-wing ultra-nationalist groups against left-wing opposition inflicted some 5,000 casualties.

Their tools of violence and intimidation are condoned by the American Left, and must be opposed by anyone who claims to love liberty. It has now boiled over into the mainstream political world , with mob violence and coordinated attacks on Libertarian and Republican candidates and events.

There are other examples of such boundless opportunism: the bicycle snack-seller riding his mobile store through the middle of a Live TV shot of the riot; the Gojek motorcycle taxi driver seemingly waiting for his customer on the wrong side of the razor wire; and the "ondel" performer hoping for a few coins amid the chaos.

Such crazy-bravery is partly due to necessity.

The holiday season starts in a week and street sellers know now is the time to make hay, as there'll be little income throughout the month of June.

It's also a symptom of familiarity.

Convulsions like we've seen this week in Jakarta have featured prominently throughout Indonesia's history, whilst mob violence on a smaller scale is much more common here than in a country like Australia.

That familiarity may also be part of the reason the protests seem to follow a set of rules.

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Any rational person would agree that violence is not legitimate unless the consequences of such action are to eliminate a still greater evil. Now there are people of course who go much further and say that one must oppose violence in general, quite apart from any possible consequences.

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It was a bizarre sight indeed to see an angry mob marching towards a police station in Tanah Abang, where a dozen cars were torched the previous night, only to be stopped in their tracks by the call to prayer.

It was like half-time in a football match, only that instead of a ball, the two teams had been trading rocks and tear-gas cannisters.

Police officers show a little bit of magic

A day earlier, outside the election oversight commission, Bawaslu, protesters passed bottles of water and dried fruit over the barricades to riot police as the sun went down, signalling an end to a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

There was also the moment when a riot squad officer showed off his magic skills over the barricade to Australian reporter Renae Henry.

And the spontaneous song that erupted as it dawned on police they were likely to have a violence-free night, after two nights of street battles.

Sadly, a lot of what's shared widely online is venomous tripe.

Like the patently absurd meme that spread amongst the protesters that Chinese police had been enlisted to shoot them.

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And as the political scientist John Mueller points out , in most years bee stings, deer collisions, ignition of nightwear And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of violence and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to reduce it. But the trend line belies the impression in two ways. An evidence-based mindset on the state of the world would bring many benefits.

Ideology alone isn’t a significant risk factor for violence . “There’ s a much stronger factor of individual personality traits that predispose people to be more aggressive in their everyday lives,” Kalmoe says, “and we see that playing out with people who engage in political violence .”

In a country where more than 1,000 mostly ethnic Chinese people were murdered during riots in 1998, the meme was taken seriously.

So much so, that police felt compelled to parade three Indonesian officers "with small eyes" before the TV cameras to prove the meme was a hoax.

"I am a Brimob [elite police] officer from North Sumatra and I'm Indonesian, not Chinese," the officer sternly told the media.

And then there's the downright terrifying.

The video, shared widely on social media, of a woman dressed in a niqab, carrying a backpack with a protruding wire, that looked every bit like a suicide bomb, approaching a police barricade.

The officers scream at her to stop, yelling "Sit down!" but she continues ambling slowly towards the razor wire.

Considering the recent warnings that police and crowds could be targeted by terrorist bombers, and the arrest of several suspects alleged to have been plotting such an attack, it was a miracle she wasn't shot dead on the spot.

Instead, she was brought down by tear gas.

The video was shared widely on social media, but not as widely as those aforementioned lighter moments.

Perhaps the cheerful clips present the image most Indonesians would prefer to be remembered for during these testing times.

Pictures: Indonesia unrest: Violent protests in Jakarta

Indonesia's worst political violence in two decades brings out the comically absurd

Albanians take to the streets calling for fresh election.
Violence erupted as thousands of Albanians protested for a snap election. The political crisis is seen as a threat to the country's aspirations of joining the European Union. © picture-alliance/dpa/H. Pustina Provided by Deutsche Welle Thousands of opposition supporters belonging to Albania's center-right Democratic Party gathered at the main government building in the capital Tirana on Sunday demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama. Demonstrators chanted "Rama go away" and "corrupt government" as they threw firecrackers, stones and smoke bombs, despite organizers' pleas not to attack the police.

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