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Jakarta Post

Anies to move Christmas celebration from Monas to JIExpo after rejection

  • Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 19, 2017   /   07:34 pm
Anies to move Christmas celebration from Monas to JIExpo after rejection A welder works on a wheelchair access ramp on Dec. 18 at Jakarta Cathedral in Central Jakarta. Churches across the country are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has announced that the Christmas celebration, which was previously set to be held at the National Monument (Monas) compound in Central Jakarta, will be held at the Jakarta International (JI) Expo building in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta on Jan. 5, following the rejection by Christians of Monas as the venue for the Christmas celebration.

“We realize that the majority of Christians want to hold the celebration indoors. Only a small number of them are willing to attend an outdoor celebration, which is why we have decided to hold the event indoors at JIExpo,” Anies said at City Hall on Tuesday. Previously, Anies issued Gubernatorial Decree (Pergub) No. 186/2017, a revision of Pergub No. 160/2017 on the management of Monas, so that Monas could be used for religious activities.

Islamic groups were quick to take advantage of the new decree by holding sermons there on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, as well as the 212 rally reunion on Dec. 2, which was held to celebrate the anniversary of a rally last year that demanded the prosecution of former governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and was believed to contribute to Anies’ victory in April's gubernatorial election.

In a recent meeting with religious leaders, Anies highlighted that Monas could now be used by all religions. He then invited Christians to celebrate Christmas together at the site.

The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) refused the idea as they hold the sacred event indoors to avoid anything that could disrupt the solemnity of Christmas.

On Tuesday, Catholic priest and social observer Benny Susetyo said Anies’ plan to celebrate Christmas at Monas square was unnecessary.