FPI raids cultural centers, demands end to gay film festival
Homophobia: Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) rally outside the Goethe Institute in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Tuesday to oppose a film festival that screens gay movies. They demanded that the festival be stopped. – Antara/Fanny Octavianus
Hundreds of members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) raided the Erasmus Huis Dutch cultural center in Kuningan, South Jakarta on Tuesday to demand an end to a gay film festival.
Clad in white Muslim attire, the members of the hard-line group removed posters of the movies to be screened during the Q Film Festival, being held from Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 in a number of theaters and cultural centers.
Salim Alatas, chairman of the Jakarta branch of the FPI, said organizers of the festival had 24 hours to stop the festival.
“We want the festival to be stopped as it screens movies that promote homosexual relationships,” Salim was quoted as saying by tempointeraktif.com.
Dozens of police flanked the FPI members to avoid any acts of violence.
Earlier, the FPI members staged a rally at the Goethe Institute German cultural center, and the French Cultural Center, and planned to march to the Japan Foundation center in Central Jakarta to convey their objection to the festival.
“We do not want this place to be set on fire because of moral decadence,” Salim said during the rally at the Goethe Institute on Jl. Sam Ratulangi in Menteng, as quoted by kompas.com.
Organizers of the festival said on their Twitter account the event would go ahead as planned.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said the police would take action against protesters if they resorted to violence.
He suggested the Muslim group expressed its objection to the festival in a polite way and used the police as mediators.