Jakarta Protesters Estimated at 7,000 to 10,000

Protesters wearing shirts that spell out, “SBY FAILED!” (JG Photo/Anita Rachman)

(Jakarta Globe) – Central Jakarta Police deputy chief Firli estimated the total number of protesters in Jakarta on Thursday as not more than 7,000, spread among locations such as the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, the National Monument, and the House of Representatives.

The number of police, he acknowledged, was almost as high: “In total, there are about 5,156 police.”

He said the police had scheduled large numbers of officers because they had heard that 40,000 people would circle the Presidential Palace.

“It’s not about the number at all, it’s about the quality of our service,” he insisted.

Agence France-Presse estimated the crowd at 10,000.

Several Jakarta Globe Twitter followers said traffic was flowing relatively well in the city, although Antara reported delays at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle around midday. The city’s busway has continued operating, Antara said.

Earlier in the day, President Yudhoyono called for the protests to remain peaceful.

“Democracy means expressing opinions, thoughts, criticism and advice in a polite and appropriate way. Let us uphold the law, obey the Constitution, laws and the rule of the game,” SBY said, speaking from a power plant ribbon-cutting in Banten.