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Jakarta Post

Groups, officials intimidate churchgoers

Posted: Tue, January 24 2012 | 10:21 am

BOGOR: At least 70 supporters of two hard-liner groups and officers from the municipality’s public order agency forced the congregation of the Indonesian Christian Church ( GKI ) at the Taman Yasmin housing complex to halt the Sunday service being held at the house of a church follower.

Public order top officer Bambang Budiyanto barged in the house and engaged in a heated argument with House lawmaker Lily Wahid, who has consistently advocated for the rights of the Yasmin congregation to be able to worship in their own church.

The police that had been on guard around the house, about 1 kilometer from the disputed church building, did not stop the commotion until the church service ended at 9:30 a.m. The police later dispersed the radical groups, identified as Forkami and Garis, and evacuated the churchgoers.

“We have to use the house of a church member for the service … We have no where else to go to worship,” church spokesperson Bona Sigalingging said Sunday.

Mayor Diani Budiarto sealed the church building, claiming that the church’s followers had lied on their application for the construction permit. Although the Supreme Court had annulled the mayor’s decision, the Bogor administration had yet to execute the verdict and enforce the law in the face of intimidation from the hard-liners.

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