The project is being carried out by PT VDNI and OSS Morosi in Konawe.
The demonstrators burned tires at the intersection of the city border, expressing their disapproval over Chinese workers being brought in for the construction project. The rally caused traffic snarls on several roads.
The protesters included members of the South Sulawesi chapter of the Islamic Student Association (HMI) and the State Islamic Institute (IAIN) of Kendari, Taman Pemuda, and Southeast Sulawesi Tolaki students.
The rally planned to proceed from the border crossing between Kendari City and South Konawe Regency to the Haluoloe Airport in Kendari, where 156 Chinese workers were scheduled to land on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a platoon of police personnel and a water cannon were deployed at the Haluoleo Airport.
A total of 500 foreign workers are expected to come to Southeast Sulawesi to build the smelter. (antara)