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Jakarta Post

Police ban rally held by LGBT supporters

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, February 24, 2016   /  07:15 am

Police banned on Tuesday activists from Democracy Struggle Solidarity (SPD), a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) support group, from holding a rally at the Yogyakarta Monument.

'€œWe didn'€™t let them hold the rally because their notification was submitted too late,'€ Yogyakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Pri Hartono said.

About 60 SPD activists jostled with 300 police officers as the activists attempted to approach the monument. Occasionally protesters and officers were seen to trade blows.

Pri said the police banned the activists from holding the rally to avoid a clash with members of the hard-line Yogyakarta Islamic People'€™s Forum (FUI) who had already asked to hold a rally opposing the LGBT community at the monument.

'€œI hope they [the SPD] can change their schedule. Tomorrow? Whenever, we will protect them,'€ Pri said.

SPD spokesperson Ani said the demonstration was a counter rally to that held by the FUI.

'€œStop hate speech against minorities and marginalized groups. Tear down banners with hate speech against the LGBT in the city,'€ Ani said.

She said her group demanded that the government protect equally the rights of all citizens, including LGBT people, to express their opinions and determine their own sexual orientation.

She added that the group would fight against practices that violated democracy in Yogyakarta, such as racism, sealing of houses of worship and hate speech against minority groups.

'€œThese represent the real face of Yogyakarta, which is hidden behind a slogan of '€˜Yogyakarta, City of Tolerance'€™,'€ she added.

Meanwhile, members of the hard-line Muslim group erected banners at the monument, expressing their opposition to the LGBT.

Earlier, the group organized a competition to make anti-LGBT banners and put them up in many locations in the city.

Separately, Muslim scholar AM Safwan of Muthahari Islamic boarding school, spoke out on the pros and cons of the LGBT issue, urging both camps to engage in dialogue.

'€œBoth camps should respect the law of the country. Allow all groups the right to strive for their rights,'€ Safwan said.

On Nov. 20, 2014, a group of assailants attacked dozens of transgender people participating in a rally to celebrate the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) at the monument. At least four demonstrators were injured in the attack. No arrests were made.

The FUI have past form in expressing opposition to LGBT proponents.

In September, 2014, the University of Sanata Dharma (USD) was forced to cancel a seminar on LBGT issues following threats from the FUI.

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