The Jakarta Post
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has claimed that 1 million supporters attended his open rally at Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta, on Sunday. However, many are saying it is impossible for the stadium to house that many people.
“Hey, [rally committee members], have you counted how many people there are here? More than 1 million,” he said during his speech on Sunday.
“Did you give them money [to tell them] to come here? How could we give 1 million people money?”
Pictures of the Prabowo camp's largest-ever open rally indeed show a large amount of people in attendance, many of whom had arrived at 3 a.m. on Sunday. However, in the afternoon on the same day, skeptical netizens began crunching numbers to determine if Prabowo's statement was accurate.
According to the venue’s official booking website, the main stadium can seat 78,000 people in its tribunes. At the event, in addition to occupying the tribunes, supporters were seen standing at the athletic track and the soccer field.
The president director of the Gelora Bung Karno Complex Management Center (PPK GBK), Winarto, told kompas.com that the soccer field and athletic track together covered an area of more than 13,000 square meters.
Keith G. Still, a professor of Crowd Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, wrote on his website that at a very crowded event, five people can stand within a square-meter area.
Therefore, assuming that the stadium was filled to its maximum capacity, it can be estimated that 65,000 people were standing on the soccer field and athletic track, bringing the total estimate of those in attendance to 143,000.
For the 1 million count to have been accurate, 70 people had to have occupied each square meter of the soccer field and athletic track.
Supporters of the incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo quickly refuted Prabowo's claim, saying it was impossible for the stadium to accommodate 1 million people.
Twitter user Yusuf Dumdum, a self-proclaimed supporter of Jokowi, compared the event to an anniversary event for the Nahdlatul Ulama's women's wing in January this year at the same stadium. At that time, NU sympathizers crammed the venue, filling it to its maximum capacity. News media estimated there were 120,000 people in attendance.
Another Jokowi supporter, Denny Siregar, said in a tweet that after the renovation of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, its capacity increased to 150,000. (gis)