Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When Tear Gas Was Fired

Smoked out: A student protester runs to escape tear gas fired by police to disburse a demonstration opposing the planned fuel price hike in front of the House of Representatives building in Jakarta on Monday. JP/Jerry Adiguna (link)

Yesterday was definitely not the best day to start the week. It was raining in the morning, followed by horrendous traffic congestion. But the worst had yet to come until dark.

The police had fired tear gas to disperse UKI students who were protesting the fuel price hike, but they might be forgetting the fact that there was Cawang UKI TransJakarta bus stop in front of the university, where many innocent bystanders waited for the bus.

I hopped off the bus, was aware of the police along the road but was not ready to face the tear gas. Within seconds, me and everyone else at the bus stop were literally crying our eyes out. My eyes and nose were runny and it was difficult to breathe. 

Damn, it was painful! I thought tear gas was only used in the 1990s? Has Jakarta become some kind of war zone? Please stop the use of tear gas!

Someone handed me a toothpaste tube and told me to smear it under my eyes. It cooled my eyes but didn't help much to ease the breathing difficulties. Running along the busway bridge looking like a Comanche warrior, I got on a mikrolet (public minivan) and asked the driver (I didn't know how he could survive there, waiting for passengers) to quickly drive away from the scene. Fortunately, he obliged. 

Once I arrived home, I washed my face, hand and feet with cold water. Taking the wudu (ablution) helped ease the pain in my nostrils. It took some time to feel better again and fell asleep. If you have any tips to avoid tear gas effect, feel free to share on the comment box.

Hope you guys had a safe ride to home last night.

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