Amid the chaos and violence of Indonesia’s deadly riots this week, an Australian journalist stumbled across a sight that’s gone viral online.
ABC Indonesian correspondent David Lipson was covering the unrest that has gripped the capital city of Jakarta when he came across a man calmly selling shoes.
“This legend was trying to sell me a pair of shoes in the middle of a riot. ‘Mister! Only 100 thousand’,” the journalist said, posting a photograph of the street vendor to Twitter.
Mr Lipson said he had initially struggled to upload the image due to the Indonesian government clamping down on social media access as thousands of its citizens took to the streets to demonstrate.
While the image and caption drew bemused responses from many Australians, some Indonesians were seemingly amused by the fuss being made.
“This is our culture sir, we don’t afraid of anything (sic),” Josi Renalt Siregar replied.
“Only in Indonesia so many legend (sic),” another user added.
“[A] great salesman is the one who can sell anything, anytime, anywhere,” Indonesian businessman Sigit E Susio said.
Another added: “Business as usual.”
One person helpfully pointed out that “you may lose a shoe in the riot and you’d be grateful he’s there when you need him”.
Other footage and images to emerge from the deadly riots have also shown street vendors calmly pushing or riding carts loaded with food and drink through the protest zones.
The riots are in response to the re-election of President Joko Widodo.
According to Mr Lipson and the ABC, at least 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets on Tuesday night (local time) after Indonesia’s election results were released ahead of schedule.
The violence had quickly escalated after demonstrators attacked police with rocks and Molotov cocktails, and before the night was over six protesters were dead — including a 15-year-old boy.
Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan said about 200 people had been injured.
A heavy police presence remains at protest sites with officers continuing to intercept protesters from regional areas.
The riots forced a number of public institutions, including cultural sites and some schools, to close on Wednesday.
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