Indonesia's sex workers have been protesting against a local authority which has announced the closure of the sex trade. In Surabaya's famous Dolly red light district, local residents, pimps and sex workers have been battling with law enforcement.
On Sunday afternoon riot police moved in to occupy Dolly, in an attempt to reinforce an earlier blanket shutdown of the local sex industry. Those who resisted the encroachment were shot at with tear gas, pummelled by baton-wielding officers, and
ultimately forced to flee the area in fear of further bloodshed or detention. By the end of the melee 10 people had been arrested, including the leader of the Local Workers Front (FPL), Ari Saputro, who has been spearheading community resistance efforts
since the Surabaya city government initiated a shutdown of the area on June 18.
Police weighed in when Saputro and other members of the FPL ceremoniously tore down and set fire to a placard erected by the city's authorities to signify Dolly's
foreclosure, as well as a recent name change. We reject the instalment of this sign here, Saputro reportedly said as he ripped out the placard, And after Ramadan, we will operate as normal. We refuse to shut down!
Riot police then
gathered in response to the immolated placard, whilst Saputro and other protestors attempted to barricade their positions with stacks of flaming tyres, knowing that they had defied an earlier police order to leave the placard intact or else face
detention for vandalism .
On Sunday evening several news channels released footage of the police crackdown, showing pictures of bloodied protestors being dragged away from smouldering wreckage, including one man who was repeatedly punched
in the face by what appears to be a plain-clothed police officer, even though he had already been restrained by two other officers.