Jakarta shopping malls up security, brace for Friday’s rally – Ahead of the rally involving Islam hard-liner groups on Friday, the management of shopping malls around possible hot spot areas say they will open as usual but will up their security.
The protesters are expected to pass shopping malls Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia, as well as Sarinah shopping center, all on Jl. MH Thamrin, as they are located near venues likely to be used for the rally; the State Palace, City Hall and the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) office.
Grand Indonesia security head Muhammad Sa’id said his team would make sure the shopping mall was secure during its usual Friday operational time of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We will deploy 16 security officers for both the West Mall and East Mall. Usually, there are only eight people in charge for each mall,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, adding that the police had also built a temporary post at East Mall’s basement to monitor the area.
Similar to Grand Indonesia, Sarinah is to operate with intensified security measures, which will be assisted by police.
“The police will help us from the morning. They will monitor Jl. MH Thamrin from our building’s frontage as well,” said the mall’s security coordinator, Suharto.
The police have marked streets that will likely be used by the protesters to stage the rally against inactive Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged defamation of a Quranic verse. The streets include Jl. MH Thamrin, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur, Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara and Jl. Kebon Sirih
The security of fX Sudirman mall in Central Jakarta has also been strengthened by coordination with the military and subprecinct police stations.
“We have put boom gates around the mall. If the situation gets worse, we will close the boom gates,” said the mall’s security chief, Jasman, adding that the mall would operate normally on Friday.