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Jakarta Post

Vendors, scavengers profiting from Ahok’s trial

  • Safrin La Batu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 27, 2016   /  08:01 pm
Vendors, scavengers profiting from Ahok’s trial Good fortune: 'Cendol' seller Suharno waits for customers during a hearing of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy case at the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday. (JP/Safrin La Batu)

The blasphemy trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has not only drawn massive public attention but also has brought economic benefits to street vendors and scavengers, who turn large crowds into opportunity.

Dozens of street vendors and scavengers paced back and forth at the North Jakarta District Court, now temporarily located at the former Central Jakarta District Court compound on Jl. Gajah Mada, Central Jakarta, where the third hearing of Ahok’s trial took place on Tuesday.

The presence of street vendors is usually helpful for rally participants as their appetite will eventually get the best of them. As protesters usually leave garbage, rally events become treasures for scavengers.

“A crowded event like this is a good place for me,” said Suharno, 53, a street vendor who sells cendol, a traditional dessert containing green rice-flour jelly served in coconut milk and palm sugar, told The Jakarta Post in front of the court on Tuesday.

On guard: Police personnel secure the third hearing of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s blasphemy case at the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday. (JP/Safrin La Batu)

Suharno said on normal days he pocketed around Rp 100,000 (US$7.50) daily from selling cendol, but during Ahok’s hearing on Tuesday he earned more than Rp 200,000.

Meanwhile, Raswani, a 67-year-old scavenger, said she came to the court after her fellow scavengers informed her of Ahok’s hearing. Raswani said it was the first time she visited a crowded event because she had always been afraid of rallies as they could break out into violence.

“Today, I dared to come here after I was told that the rally would be peaceful,” she said. (ebf)

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