Indonesia raids huge red-light district before Ramadan

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Hundreds of police and soldiers raided a huge red-light district in Indonesia’s second-biggest city on Friday to close down brothels before Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims.

Scuffles briefly broke out between security forces and people protesting the raid in the area known as Dolly in Surabaya, on Indonesia’s main Java island.

"The raid was conducted to make sure that entertainment centres, including brothels, are closed during the whole month of Ramadan," said Mr Irvan Widyanto, a Surabaya official responsible for maintaining public order.  

Ramadan begins on Sunday in Indonesia.

 Financial assistance

The raid came about a week after the city’s mayor announced that Dolly would be closed. The move has sparked fierce resistance from sex workers and others whose jobs depend on the red-light district. 

The government has pledged to give them financial assistance and training in new professions.  

About 500 police, soldiers and public order officers were involved in Friday’s raid, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

One large brothel in the area was closed down permanently, said Mr Widyanto.

Scuffles broke out when public order officers sought to take down banners condemning the closure of Dolly.

Source: AFP