Denied permission for dance event, rioters burn police vehicles in Southeast Sulawesi

Rioters push police truck into bonfire in Lawele on Sunday morning (Oct 21, 2018).  Screenshot: Java Timeline / Youtube
Rioters push police truck into bonfire in Lawele on Sunday morning (Oct 21, 2018). Screenshot: Java Timeline / Youtube

Some people really wanna dance. When local police told the residents of Lawele Village, located in Southeast Sulawesi’s Buton Regency, that they did not have permission to hold a late night dance event following their annual harvest festival on Saturday night, it sparked a riot that ended with one police car and seven police motorcycles set ablaze.

The Buton Regional Police said the riot began around 1 am on Sunday following the official end time for the village’s harvest festival. Revelers wanted to keep the party going and asked police to allow them to continue playing music and dancing later into the night but police denied their request.

People then began throwing stones at the officers, who responded by firing tear gas into the crowd, leading to more resistance and eventually a retreat by the police.

What happened next can be seen in the above video as angered revelers turned into rioters, attacking the leftover police trunk and setting their motorcycles on fire. Towards the end of the video, you see the rioters push the truck into the bonfire already stacked with motorcycles.

The Buton Police later returned in force with backup from Southeast Sulawesi Regional Police and took control of the situation. They have arrested seven suspected of being involved in the burning of the police vehicles and said they are still investigating others. Authorities have yet to release a statement regarding their decision to deny the festival goers dance request.

 

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