Travellers in Indonesia are being warned to exercise increased caution in the run-up to a heated general election in the islands, as Australia issues a fresh warning to tourists.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its advisory via the Smart Traveller website yesterday, telling tourists to avoid “political rallies and possible protests”, which were predicted in the run-up to February 14, when 200 million head to the polls.
The advisory warns tourists there could be disruption to travel and restricted access to public areas.
“Avoid protests and demonstrations and monitor local media for the latest updates,” reads the advice.
Urban areas in Sumatra, Jakarta and Bali could see spontaneous demonstrations and rallies, with a close-run three-way race predicted between candidates Anies Baswedan, General Prabowo Subianto and Ganjar Pranowo.
“Travel requirements may change at short notice, including travel to Bali and Jakarta by air, land or sea. Contact your travel provider and monitor media for up-to-date details,” reads the updated advisory.
Firecrackers go off near supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto during clashes with the police in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photos / AP
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not updated its advisory for travellers heading to Indonesia, but has a general warning for civil unrest on the country’s Safe Travel page, saying that “demonstrations, often large scale, are a feature of Indonesian life”, especially in big cities.
Supporters of the candidates have held violent clashes in previous elections, in which main roads and public transport were shut throughout Jakarta and more than 40,000 police deployed in the capital in 2019.
“Most demonstrations pass without incident, but we advise New Zealanders to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large crowds as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.”
An MFAT spokesperson said there were no changes to any travel settings that we are aware of at this stage.
This general advice is still valid, along with warnings about ongoing political and seismic instability across the diverse and dispersed country of islands.
Despite recent earthquakes and terror alerts, the country continues to be a top destination for Kiwi and Australian tourists.
- NZ Herald
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