Indonesia students take to the streets to protest major changes to laws

Thousands of Indonesian students have taken to the streets again to protest against the major changes to laws coming into the country.

students clashed with riot police in Indonesia’s capital as demonstrators hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at authorities who shot tear gas into the crowds on the third day of protests.

The demonstrations erupted in response to a proposed criminal-code overhaul that includes everything from criminalising pre-marital sex and restricting sales of contraceptives, to making it illegal to insult the president and toughening the Muslim majority country’s blasphemy laws.

There has also been a public backlash against a separate bill that critics fear would dilute the investigative powers of Indonesia’s corruption-fighting agency (known as the KPK) including its ability to wire-tap graft suspects.

The rallies are among the biggest anti-government demonstrations since 1998 when mass street protests brought down the three-decade Suharto dictatorship.

Students have issued a list of demands including scrapping some of the criminal-code changes, withdrawing troops from Indonesia’s unrest-hit Papua region, and halting forest fires in Sumatra and Borneo that have unleashed toxic haze across Southeast Asia.

Hundreds rallied in the capital Jakarta — as did scores in the second-biggest city Surabaya, and in Borneo on Tuesday.

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