A video gone viral showing mayhem on a Jakarta street reveals two things about Indonesia’s capital: Few drivers respect the dedicated bus lanes and mob violence still rules.
The video, shot on a phone from a Transjakarta busway shelter in Mangga Besar, starts with the drama already underway.
A bus has passed the shelter, but stopped a few metres away, trapping at least three automobiles behind it inside the bus lane. The driver of the lead car, which police say had already hit two motorcycles and had fled into the bus lane, tries to ram over the top of the dividers.
He fails and reverses as far as he can, but by then a growing number of people are already hitting the car with sticks and other weapons. The car speeds forwards, heads for the concrete and, with a great lurch, almost makes it over before grinding to a halt on top of the barrier, which is now partially knocked over.
After the Transjakarta bus pulls away a fair-sized mob rapidly forms to beat the car and the fleeing driver some more.
One of the many copies of the video that was posted on YouTube on August 30, the same day as the incident, had by Wednesday been viewed more than 500,000 times and collected more than 1,000 comments.
The comments, following a quick question about when the video was filmed, began with: ‘It’s bad’, leading to discussions about how the mentality of the people in the city had to change, although whether the reference was to bad driving, ignoring laws, or mob violence remained unclear.
Many commentators declared the events a common part of Indonesian life and some people offering advice to would-be mob victims:
‘If you are wrong, you don’t have to run away, just stop and take responsibility, so you don’t invite anger from other drivers’, wrote someone identified as Nizzam Iffatulloh. ‘You know your own brutal nature when the times are angry’.
The Tamansari Police apparently decided the driver, whom they named ‘Franky’, has suffered enough punishment and on Tuesday announced they would not be laying charges against him.
Instead, ‘Franky’ will be going into a drug rehabilitation programme, since, according to police, he had been under the influence of crystal meth during the incident. The drivers of the motorcycles struck by the car were not injured.
Feature video: Eky Fox Channel