Indonesia braces for massive fuel hike protests
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Indonesia braces for massive fuel hike protests

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Thousands of Indonesians are taking to the streets Tuesday to protest government plans to hike fuel prices as much as 30 percent.

Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo says the increase — expected to kick in April 1 — is necessary because the country can’t afford generous subsidies amid surging costs of fuel.

Subsidies also eat up 20 percent of the national budget — money that should be spent on infrastructure, education and health.

Jakarta police spokesman Col. Rikwanto says 14,000 police are being deployed in the capital of Jakarta to quell any potential violence.

Another 8,000 soldiers are guarding the presidential palace and other sensitive installations like airports and gas stations.