Thousands join anti-Jokowi walk in Surakarta
Ganug Nugroho Adi
The Jakarta Post
Thousands of people participated in an anti-Jokowi walk on Sunday morning in the Gladag area in the city of Surakarta, Central Java.
The event on Sunday was also attended by, among others, the Surakarta Sharia Council (DSKS) chairman Muinudinillah Basri, Muhammadiyah activist Mustofa B. Nahrawardaya and local figure Mudrick Sangidu.
Earlier, the Surakarta Police said they did not permit the event because it had a potential to create altercations between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo supporters and those who oppose him. In response, the event committee said they would prohibit the participants from wearing or carrying any #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) attributes.
Although attributes emblazoned with #2019GantiPresiden were absent in the 5-kilometer walk, a call to support presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto resonated in the event.
“Hail Prabowo! I hope that he will become our president,” Mudrick told the participants. He also encouraged them to be volunteers to support Prabowo’s candidacy.
Hundreds of joint personnel from the police, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Muhammadiyah were seen securing the event held in Jokowi's hometown and the city that propelled him into fame when he was the mayor.
The participants also came from neighboring cities like Sukoharjo, Boyolali, Klaten, Sragen, Karanganyar and Wonogiri.
Public figure Ahmad Dhani and Neno Warisman were previously set to attend the event but they canceled their participation.
“Ahmad Dhani could not make it here because he has to prepare himself for questioning at the East Java Police headquarters. Meanwhile, Neno Warisman had something to do and had to cancel her attendance,” said the event's spokesperson, Endro Harsono.
Neno’s plan to attend a #2019GantiPresiden event in Pekanbaru last month was thwarted when hundreds of counterprotesters blocked the entrance to the airport, carrying banners denouncing the #2019GantiPresiden campaign and urging Neno to “go home”.
A similar protest also occurred against Neno several weeks ago in Batam, Riau Islands.
Similar scenes occurred in Surabaya on Aug. 26, as musician Ahmad Dhani was blocked from leaving his hotel to attend a #2019GantiPresiden event.
The police have restricted #2019GantiPresiden events in Surabaya and Pekanbaru earlier, citing security reasons. Jokowi has lauded the police's move, saying democracy has its limit. (vny/evi)
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