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Indonesia police fire tear gas at students protesting sex, graft laws

Indonesia police fire tear gas at students protesting sex, graft laws

Jakarta: Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters outside Indonesia's parliament Tuesday as thousands demonstrated nationwide against a new criminal code that would, among other things, outlaw pre-marital sex and weaken the country's anti-graft agency.

Protesters covered their faces and scattered in all directions as chaos erupted in the centre of the sprawling capital, Jakarta.

Police also fired teargas at rock-throwing protesters in Makassar on Sulawesi island, while demonstrators broke down a barrier outside the governor's office in Semarang on Java island.

"(We) forcibly dispersed student because they were carrying out anarchist acts, damaging government property and throwing stones at police," said Dicky Sondani, a South Sulawesi police spokesman.

The police action came after flag- and placard-waving demonstrators gathered across the Southeast Asian archipelago — including in cultural capital Yogyakarta and holiday hotspot Bali — for a second day in a row.

On Tuesday, lawmakers debated a wide-ranging legal overhaul including hundreds of new laws that would criminalise pre-marital sex, restrict sales of contraceptives, make it illegal to insult the president, and toughen the Muslim majority country's blasphemy laws.

A vote on the bill was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but President Joko Widodo last week called for a delay in passing the proposed changes after a public backlash.

Agencies

Agencies

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