The Jakarta Post
The #2019ChangePresident campaign once again made waves as planned events in Pekanbaru, Riau, and Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday were marked by clashes between protesters, counterprotesters and police.
The clashes began on Saturday afternoon, as opposition activist Neno Warisman arrived at the Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport in Pekanbaru to attend a #2019ChangePresident event in the city on Sunday.
Her plans were thwarted as hundreds of counterprotesters blocked the entrance to the airport, carrying banners denouncing the #2019ChangePresident campaign and urging Neno to “go home,” as reported by kompas.com.
A group of people claiming to be from the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) also came to the airport, saying they wanted to safeguard Neno.
The mob then started throwing missiles at the former pop singer’s car, which was trying to exit the airport.
Police eventually forcefully dispersed the crowd and sent Neno on a plane back to Jakarta.
“The police and TNI [Indonesian Military] attempted to prevent clashes between supporters and opponents [of the #2019ChangePresident campaign],” Riau
Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Sunarto said on Sunday, as quoted by Antara, when asked why they sent Neno home.
A similar protest also occurred against Neno several weeks ago in Batam, Riau Islands.
Similar scenes occurred in Surabaya on Sunday, as musician Ahmad Dhani was blocked from leaving his hotel to attend a #2019ChangePresident event.
An organization calling itself the Surabaya People’s Movement held a demonstration outside the Hotel Majapahit, where Dhani was staying.
The police dispersed the #2019ChangePresident event held near the Surabaya Heroes Monument, citing security concerns.
East Java Police spokesperson Frans Barung Mangera said the police had received complaints about the event.
“For safety reasons and to avoid untoward incidents, we dispersed the event,” Frans said, as quoted by kompas.com. (kmt)