The Jakarta Post
Civil society groups based in Surakarta, Central Java, the hometown of the President and former mayor of the city, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, have rejected a planned event that they believe will be used to campaign against Jokowi.
Eight groups have signed a petition, calling on the local police to deny the committee of an event to commemorate National Sports Day a permit to hold the event, slated for Sunday. The groups alleged that the committee would use the event to announce an anti-Jokowi movement using the hashtag #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangeThePresident).
“The event is politically loaded. The [committee] says it’s a commemoration of [national] sports day but the leaflets include irrelevant messages such as ‘lower the prices of staple food and fuel!’ and so on. We will stop the event at all costs,” Tego Widarto, the coordinator of Residents Love Surakarta Forum, said on Thursday.
The Surakarta Police have received the petitions but have not made any decision regarding the requests.
“We are studying the requests lodged by the groups. They suspect that the event will be political. We basically want to minimize any tensions,” Surakarta Police deputy chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Andy Rifai said.
According to the leaflets that were circulated in the city, the event will be attended by opposition activists, including Ahmad Dhani and Neno Warisman.
A committee coordinator, Endro Sudarsono, denied the accusation made by the local groups.
“We understand their suspicion, although we think they are overreacting. I assure that this will only be a sports day,” he said, adding that the event would include prizes.
Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi “Rudy” Rudyatmo, who served as Jokowi’s deputy between 2005 and 2012, said there were no problems with the event, except for its planned venue, which had been reserved for another event. He called on local residents to refrain from hosting political campaign events before Sept. 21, when the campaign period for the 2019 presidential election officially begins. (swd)