Indonesian police officer suffers severe burns in student street protest

JAKARTA - An Indonesian police officer sustained severe burns after a student threw petrol on him during an anti-government rally in Cianjur, West Java on Thursday (Aug 15).

Assistant to First Lieutenant Erwin Yudha was trying to douse burning tyres set alight by the students, about 50 of whom were protesting in the Cianjur city centre, when one of them threw fuel on him, according to local media reports.

While the exact demands from the protesters were unclear, they seemed to be alleging failure by the government.

The students who participated in the rally include those from the Indonesian national student movement (GMNI), Indonesian Muslim student movement (PMII), and Indonesian Muslim student association, Sindonews.com reported.

Mr Erwin, who suffered burns to 64 per cent of his body, was quickly rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

"Practically all over his body, face, both hands, both feet and parts of chest," Brigadier-General Musyafak, head of Indonesian police hospital, told reporters in Jakarta. "He is also suffering from inhalation trauma after breathing very hot air."

Two of Mr Erwin's colleagues who swiftly tried to help him after he caught fire are also being treated for burn wounds, police said.

Family members of the injured police officers and were seen crying hysterically after seeing their relatives in hospital, Detik.com reported.

Video footage of the incident has been widely shared on social media, and lifted by the mainstream media.

West Java province police spokesman Colonel Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told reporters 15 students have been arrested for interrogation.