Police Not Taking Chances Ahead of Obama’s Arrival

By webadmin on 11:31 pm Mar 10, 2010
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Arientha Primanita & Zaky Pawas

Intelligence operations will be stepped up across the Greater Jakarta area in anticipation of security disturbances during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jakarta on March 20, particularly after Tuesday’s terror raids in South Tangerang, police said on Wednesday.

Law-enforcement officials also said they would also be curtailing protests.

“We’re taking no chances. We won’t stop people from protesting during Obama’s visit because it’s their constitutional right. However, demonstrations, particularly the size of them, will be limited,” said Sr. Comr. Irlan, the Jakarta Police’s director of intelligence services, after meeting with Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo on Wednesday.

Irlan said that protest restrictions would include “secured” rally locations set up by police. “The distance from where they are protesting will taken into account. Protestors can still express their opinions but if they go overboard and enter restricted areas, we will take action,” he said. Of the 130 protests held over the last month, only three were related to Obama’s visit, Irlan said.

His statement comes a day after police gunned down three suspected terrorists, including one believed to be top fugitive Dulmatin, a bomb-making specialist thought to have masterminded the 2002 Bali bombings.

The National Police said on Wednesday that they had seized three detonators for remote-controlled bombs at an Internet cafe on Jakarta’s outskirts where the man believed to be Dulmatin was killed.

Separately, Noor Huda Ismail, an expert on extremism, told Agence France-Presse that Obama’s planned visit this month had given new impetus to the terror raids.

“The most important and powerful leader in the world is coming to Indonesia, so the authorities have to tame any possible attack by jihadists,” Ismail said.

But Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said he did not believe that the recent operations against terror networks were carried out because of the Obama visit.

“The context is the country’s security, nothing else,” Boy said.