Indonesians protest fuel prices hike

People across Indonesia are protesting the government's decision to raise fuel prices.

Thousands of workers and university students have been holding rallies since Monday in Jakarta and other cities. They're demanding the government revoke the decision announced on Saturday to increase subsidized fuel prices by about 30 percent.

This came as inflation was already soaring amid a global energy crisis.

Despite the higher prices, cars and motorbikes lined up at a Jakarta gas station. Some people expressed frustration with the added burden.

A man in his 30s said, "The higher price of fuel will have an impact on making daily necessities more expensive. The increase has now really been felt in all sectors."

President Joko Widodo went on television on Saturday to make his case that the increase was needed to rein in ballooning subsidies, which he said benefited the wealthy. Joko said some of the savings would be used for social assistance to help people in need.

Joko said, "State money should be prioritized to provide subsidies to the underprivileged. At this time, the government has to make decisions under difficult circumstances."

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador revealed on Wednesday the two countries had entered talks to deliver Russian crude oil. But that could draw criticism from Western nations that have been imposing sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.