Jakarta

Little Barry displaced,
moved to school

The group opposing the placement of the Barack Obama statue in Menteng Park, Central Jakarta, may withdraw their class-action lawsuit as the statue was removed for relocation on Sunday night.

“I personally agree [with the removal], but I need to discuss first with other group members whether we really need to stop the trial
process,” said Heru Nugroho, a representative from the 50,000-member Facebook group, “Take down
the Barack Obama statue from Menteng Park”.

Bowing to public pressure, the Jakarta-based Friends of Obama Foundation, which installed the statue of US President Obama as a child, removed it from Menteng Park, Central Jakarta, on Sunday night after deciding to erect it again at state elementary school SDN 01 Menteng, where Obama was once the student, later this week.

The school’s spokesman Ahmad Solikhin said the school had made preparations to welcome the statue.

“This [Monday] morning, we started constructing the cement foundation [for the statue],” Ahmad told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

According to Ahmad, the statue will be placed near the school’s gate so that it can still be viewed by the public.

The removal of the statue, which cost Rp 40 million (US$4,280), will be jointly financed by the foundation, the school’s alumni association and the Jakarta Education Agency, Ahmad said.

Erected by the Friends of Obama Foundation in December last year, the statue had sparked wide public criticism for insulting the nation’s pride.

Just a few days after the Central Jakarta municipality unveiled the statue at Menteng Park, experts and a group of Facebook users demanded it be dismantled.

On Wednesday, the Central Jakarta District Court held a hearing to try a class-action lawsuit by five plaintiffs representing the members of the “Take down the Barack Obama statue from Menteng Park” Facebook group.

The five plaintiffs — Heru Nugroho, Protus Tanuhandaru, Daniel Rudi Haryanto, Andes Soesman and FX Agung Bimo Sutedjo — filed the suit against the Jakarta governor, the Central Jakarta mayor and the Jakarta Parks and Cemeteries Agency, saying the statue didn’t deserve a place in the park and should be immediately removed.

Attending the statue dismantling on Sunday night, foundation chairman Ron Mullers said the foundation needed to move the statue as “residents wanted the statue to be in the Menteng elementary school”.

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