Images from the demolition of riverside slum Kampung Pulo.
On Thursday 20 August, residents of Jakarta’s riverside slum Kampung Pulo lost their homes.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ordered in the bulldozers to tear down the ‘illegal’ shacks in the slum, which has been subject to ongoing flooding. The slum, on the banks of the Ciliwung River, was also blamed for flooding in other parts of the city. The land seized from Kampung Pulo’s 3,400 residents will be used to expand the capacity of the river.
While offered new, low-cost apartments nearby, many of the locals resisted the demolition, to no avail. The evictions turned violent with clashes and injuries. The slum dwellers have subsequently been painted as villains and ungrateful by locals and media alike.
“One thing for sure is that we need to make sure that there are no more houses and other buildings along both of Ciliwung’s riverbanks. Then the river revitalisation project and the new housing project will follow through right after,” Ahok told Indonesian media.
In this photo essay, photographer Ray Yen captures some of the scenes from the eviction and demolition.
Pak Adi’s family has been living by Ciliwung river for three generations. Due to Jakarta government’s flood-mitigation project, his family is now forced to relocate to the low-cost apartment built by the Ministry of Public Works nearby, where he would be living with his wife, children, his mother, two siblings and their families. He makes a living selling batu akik rings in the nearby market.
“If I had a choice I wouldn’t want my family to live here either. We only live here because we are not wealthy enough to move somewhere else.”
Pak Adi is disappointed by Ahok’s handling of the situation. He believes that Ahok is largely ignorant of the suffering he’s causing. “I pray for Ahok.”
He quoted Luke 23:34 from the Bible. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Ray Yen is a graduate of the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific currently living in Jakarta.