Indonesians protest against cops by dumping shoes at police post
JAKARTA AN Iraqi journalist made headlines in 2008 when he threw a shoe at President George W Bush to protest the US invasion of his country.
More recently, Indonesians have also been using footwear to send a message, dumping cheap shoes outside police stations to protest the treatment of a boy accused of stealing plastic sandals.
A collection of more than 1,200 pairs of flip-flops, sandals and slippers was to be delivered to national police headquarters in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The campaign is to seek justice for a 15-year-old boy on trial in Central Sulawesi province for stealing sandals belonging to police officers.
His second court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
“We want to show our disgust at the treatment of the boy by donating the sandals to the police,” said Budhi Kurniawan, an activist at SOS Children’s Villages, which helped organise the bulk donation as a mock compensation for the theft.
The boy, identified only by his initials AAL because he is a minor, was beaten by police in May after admitting that he and two friends stole sandals from outside a boarding house used by police, Kurniawan said. The trial has shone a spotlight on Indonesia’s justice system, under which children as young as 8 can face trial, and those as young as 12 can be sentenced to prison.
About 5,000 minors are currently in jail across the country, but a shortage of juvenile lock-ups means some are in adult prisons, officials and activists said. The alleged sandal thief could face up to 5 years in jail if found guilty, but any sentence is likely to be much more lenient given the public pressure.
The footgear to be donated to the police on Wednesday was collected at the office of the National Commission on Children in Jakarta, with contributions from across the country. Twenty-five pairs of sandals were donated by people in Germany, Kurniawan said.