Hundreds of people held a peaceful rally in Jakarta on Sunday, calling for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to prove his commitment to corruption eradication.
The President has remained silent over the escalating standoff between the National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
"People have been waiting for the President’s statement on the police-KPK showdown since Friday evening," human rights activist Usman Hamid said on the sidelines of the rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
On Friday evening, officers from the Bengkulu Police and the Jakarta Police went to the KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, in an attempt to arrest KPK investigator Comr, Novel Baswedan for the alleged abuse of criminal suspects in 2004.
Their attempt failed as hundreds of activists, journalists, experts and university students flocked to the KPK building to defend Novel, a prominent investigator in major corruption cases, against his fellow police officers. Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana also appeared at the headquarters.
Novel is currently investigating irregularities surrounding the procurement of driving simulators by the National Police Traffic Corps, in which Ins. Gen. Djoko Susilo has been named the main suspect.
One of Yudhoyono’s aides said that the President would deliver a statement on the standoff on Monday.
However, University of Indonesia political observer Effendi Ghazali said that Monday would be too late as people were tired of waiting. "Why should [he wait to] make a comment on Monday? Don’t we have a President on Saturday and Sunday?” he said.
According to Effendi, people expected the president to show concern and take decisive action. “The President will disappoint his people even more if he only says, ‘I'm concerned about this issue’ in his awaited speech on Monday," he said.
Sunday’s rally was held during the Car Free Day event. Several singers, including soloist Once, band Efek Rumah Kaca and Simponi performed during the rally. (riz/lfr)