The Central Java Police have prepared around 2,500 personnel to disband an upcoming sporting event in Kota Barat square they believe to be part of a political movement against President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
The event is scheduled for Sunday and would feature anti-Jokowi activists Neno Warisman and Ahmad Dhani, who have been intensively promoting the controversial hashtag #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident).
Central Java Police chief Ir. Gen. Condro Kirono said the event, themed “Health Walk for Muslims and Solo Residents”, was considered political because the committee had invited figures like Neno and Dhani.
He also said the area would be used for National Sports Day and Solo Sports Week on the same day.
“We are not allowing the event to be held. To the organizers, please, hold the event in another city and fulfill all the requirements, especially obtaining a permit to bring a crowd,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Surakarta Police deputy chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Andy Rifai expressed similar concerns. “For the sake of security, we’re prohibiting the event. A notification letter concerning the rejection of the event has been sent to the committee,” he said.
“If [the organizers] remain stubborn, we will disperse the crowd,” he added.
He added that the measure had been taken as the event may disrupt public order, with civil society groups in Surakarta, the hometown of the President and former mayor of the city, having rejected the planned event, which they believed would be used to campaign against Jokowi.
Endro Sudarsono, one of the event’s organizers, confirmed Neno and Dhani would speak at the event.
Dadyo Hasto Kuncoro, who chairs the organizing committee, said his side would press ahead with its plan despite the police’s plea.
“We guarantee the event will be safe. Police should not overreact.” (sau/ahw)