Dozens of people belonging to an anti-Malaysia group briefly attempted an intimidating road-block and ID check to identify Malaysians along a busy Central Jakarta street on Tuesday, but came up empty-handed.
The operation, initially planned for an hour, only lasted for thirty minutes, but witnesses said the action managed to raise tension as activists stopped drivers and asked for their IDs.
A road block was erected directly in front of the central post of the anti-Malaysia group, the Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (People’s Defense of Democracy) in the vacant former headquarters of a political party.
The sight of men carrying sharpened bamboo sticks was more than enough to raise concerns among those who were stopped.
The group also distributed small Indonesian flags and tied red and white scarves, the colors if the country’s flag, around their heads and at the ends of their makeshift weapons.
Police immediately closed off the segment of the road where the roadblock was erected and redirected traffic through Cikini, while dozens of police watched on guard from afar but took no apparent action.
Muchtar Bonaventura, who claimed to be the coordinator of the group, said the sweep was held to warn the Malaysian government not to act recklessly against Indonesian citizens and to stop claiming Indonesian culture as their own.
Although they did not find any Malaysian citizens, Muchtar vowed to continue similar actions and even expand the operation to seek offices and houses belonging to Malaysians. His group has been virulently anti-Malaysian, and had even opened registration for volunteers to wage war against the neighboring country.