Indonesian cops fire tears gas as students protest proposed laws, Latest World News - The New Paper

Indonesian cops fire tears gas as students protest proposed laws

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JAKARTA: Indonesian police fired water cannon and tear gas to break up protests yesterday, as tens of thousands of students gathered in cities nationwide over a range of issues including a new criminal code that penalises adultery and revised laws on corruption.

President Joko Widodo on Friday ordered a delay in parliament's vote on the new criminal code, saying a new Parliament should deliberate on the bill next month.

The revisions to the code include penalties for sex outside marriage, insulting the president's dignity, a four-year jail term for abortions in the absence of a medical emergency or rape, and a prison term for black magic.

Though the vote was not included in yesterday's plenary session in Parliament, some lawmakers have said they will try to come up with a new draft to bring it to a vote before their current term ends at the end of this month.

Students, often wearing colourful jackets from their alma maters, gathered in cities across the country.

One banner held by a woman in a photo posted on social media read: "My crotch does not belong to the government".

Thousands gathered in the front and back entrances to the parliament building, demanding to meet parliament speaker Bambang Soesatyo.

Mr Bambang held a news conference inside the building urging calm, but refused to answer questions from reporters about whether the vote will be delayed until new Parliament takes office, repeating the vote could happen in the current term.

Police then fired water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to clear the crowd.

On the main street through Jakarta, hundreds of others marched towards parliament after protesting in front of the presidential palace, blocking traffic.

Police also fired tear gas in Bandung, West Java, to disperse protesters who hurled rocks at police officers near a local parliament building.- REUTERS