Indonesians have found a new symbol for their growing frustration at uneven justice in their young,democratic nation: cheap,worn-out flip-flops.
They have been dropping them off at police stations all over the sprawling archipelago to express outrage over the arrest and trial of a 15-year-old boy for lifting an old pair of white sandals from outside a boarding house used by police in northern Indonesia.
This is insane, said Titis Anissa,a high school teacher in the capital,Jakarta,noting that government officials found guilty of plundering state coffers get off with a slap on the wrist. And a young,poor boy takes a pair of $3 sandals? Enough already!
The boy snatched the shoes while he and several friends headed home from school in Palu,the capital of Central Sulawesi province,in November 2010. He was later interrogated and badly beaten by three officers,and faces up to five years in prison if found guilty,the same sentence given to many terrorists and rapists. He will appear Wednesday before the court in Palu for the second hearing of his trial.