Jakarta

Fauzi lets court decide
if little Obama stays

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo has said the administration would remove the Barrack Obama statue from Menteng Park, Central Jakarta, if ordered to do so by a court ruling.

His statement came in response to a recent class action on the establishment of the statue, filed by a group of citizens to Central Jakarta District Court.   

“Filing a lawsuit is the citizens’ right. I have no problem with that. If [the decision] is proven to be wrong, we will make amends,” Fauzi said after an internal meeting at City Hall on Monday.

However, Fauzi said any plans for a future location for the statue would left up to Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni.

Last Friday a group of residents filed a lawsuit to the Central Jakarta District Court against the governor, the mayor and the Jakarta Park and Cemetery Agency.

The five residents are grouped under the banner “Take Down the Obama Statue from Menteng Park” which is listed on the Facebook social networking website.

They demanded the city remove the statue from its current location to an elementary school where the now US President studied for around four years when he lived in Menteng.

Heru Nugroho, the coordinator of the group, said the first hearing for the case would be in one or two weeks.

“The court said it will send us a notification letter about the trial schedule,” Heru said.

A lawyer representing the group, Abdul Hadi Lubis, said he was preparing several witnesses including Betawi community figure Ridwan Saidi and Heru.

Abdul said Heru is one of Obama’s fans who was dissapointed for not being invited to discuss the location of the statue.

“We wish Pak Ridwan will testify before the court on his knowledge about Menteng history,” said the lawyer from the Indonesian Human Rights and Legal Aid Association.

He added that the city should have put up statue of a national hero statue with a proven contribution to the nation, instead of Obama.

Meanwhile, support for the relocation of the statue has continued to increase. As of Monday afternoon, 55,256 Facebookers had joined the online group.

The statue depicts the US President as a smiling 10-year-old boy, with a butterfly in his outstretched hand, and was commissioned by the Indonesia-based Friends of Obama Foundation.

Despite the statue aiming to inspire children to live their dreams, many have opposed it citing the insignificant contribution Obama made to Indonesia.

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