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Indonesia

Protesters demand Jakarta governor’s head for 'flood failure'

Victims of deadly deluge file class-action lawsuits against Anies Baswedan for negligence surrounding natural disaster

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Protesters demand Jakarta governor’s head for 'flood failure'

Protesters stage a rally outside City Hall in Jakarta on  Jan. 14  to demand the resignation of Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan for failing to deal with deadly floods that hit the Indonesian capital earlier in the month. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News)     

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Jakarta on Jan. 14 calling for the city’s governor, Anies Baswedan, step down for failing to deal with deadly floods that hit the Indonesian capital early this month.

Dressed in black with red-white headbands, the group calling themselves “United People’s Voice” gathered outside City Hall waving banners that read, “Impeach Him” and “Class Action.”

“Governor Anies Baswedan has failed to lead this provincial administration since he took office more than two years ago.,” Sisca Rumondor, coordinator of the protest, told UCA News.

“He must resign if he cannot work properly. There are many other people who are more competent than him.,” she said.

“Many issues have made us angry. But the disaster was the last straw,” she said.  

More than 60 people died because of flooding and landslides in the capital as well as in some parts of West Java and Banten provinces, while more than 90,000 people were displaced, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.

It was considered one of the worst to have ravaged the capital and its suburbs since records began.

A potential clash was avoided when police intervened to separate the protesters from a rival group supporting the governor. 

The protest came a day after 243 people seriously affected by the floods filed class-action lawsuits against Baswedan for negligence.

The lawsuits against the governor were filed with the Central Jakarta District Court,” Azas Tigor Nainggolan, a Catholic lawyer from the Jakarta Flood Victims Advocacy Team, said.

“The main contention in the lawsuit is that the governor broke the law in regard to the lack of an early warning system and the emergency response...Total losses faced by the plaintiffs is 42,334,600,149 rupiah (about US$3,256,507),” he said.

Baswedan has come under fire for cutting Jakarta's flood mitigation budget each year since he took office in 2017. 

He has also been criticized following revelations that the 2020 flood mitigation budget was cut largely to fund an upcoming Formula E auto racing event.

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