Sat, 21 Feb 2004

Military personnel to guard elections

The Jakarta Military Command will deploy 1,200 personnel to help 15,968 officers from the Jakarta Police in securing the upcoming general elections.

"The police will be in command while the military personnel will carry on their duty under our supervision," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prasetyo said on Friday after a coordinating meeting with Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara and Jakarta Military Commander Maj. Gen. Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo.

Prasetyo said that two to four police officers would be posted at 2,812 polling stations in the Greater Jakarta area, which includes Jakarta, Depok, Bekasi and Tangerang. The polling stations incorporate a total of 46,489 polling booths for over 12.8 million voters.

As for the military personnel, they will be on alert at their designated posts.

Both the police and the military will carry weapons including firearms with rubber bullets.

In Jakarta police will be assisted by 93,048 community guards in securing the polling stations and patrolling the neighborhoods. The guards have been trained by the Jakarta Police for the task.

The legislative election campaign period starts on March 11 while the election itself will be on April 5. As for the direct presidential election, the campaign period begins in June while the election will be on July 5. A second phase will take place in September if there is no outright winner in July.

Prasetyo said the police would be on high alert from the beginning of the campaign period until the elections end, adding that all officers must be on call in the event of disturbances and they were prohibited from taking leave. -- JP