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Two Indonesian journalists badly injured by shots fired by riot police

Student protesters in Makassar, South Sulawesi province demonstrate against the government's plans to hike fuel prices, 20 June 2013
Student protesters in Makassar, South Sulawesi province demonstrate against the government's plans to hike fuel prices, 20 June 2013

REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad

Shots fired by riot police using rubber bullets and teargas injured two reporters covering protests against fuel price hikes on 17 June 2013.

Anton Nugroho of Jakarta-based Trans 7 TV, was hit in the left eye by a rubber bullet at a protest in the western province of Jambi. According to local press reports, Aroby Kilerley of Mata Public was hit by a teargas canister at a protest on the eastern island of Ternate.

"Initial reports suggest that the journalists were not targeted but only thorough investigations will be able to confirm this," Reporters Without Borders said on 19 June. "We strongly condemn the action of the police in firing indiscriminately on crowds and without consideration for media personnel. Those responsible must be identified.

"The police should take the necessary precautions in order to guarantee the safety of journalists and allow them to work without having to fear being injured by the very people who are supposed to protect them."

Thousands of Indonesians took part in the protests in reaction to parliament's approval of a government bill ending subsidies on fuel prices. The protests quickly led to clashes with police.

Reporters Without Borders was told that Nugroho's injury has resulted in partial blindness that could be irreversible. Kilerley was transferred to a hospital in Jakarta where he was said to be in a serious condition as of 19 June.

The minister for legal, political and security affairs, Djoko Soesilo, initially denied that the police fired on protesters but the head of the police subsequently acknowledged that some officers violated crowd control procedure.

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