Jakarta – An event organized by the recently formed Save Indonesia Coalition (KAMI) in Surabaya, East Java, on Monday was dismissed by security personnel following a rejection from residents who reportedly considered the organization "dangerous".
Hundreds of people purportedly blocked the access to Gedung Juang 45 building in Sawahan district, where the event was intended to be held. The organizers then decided to move the event into a house in nearby Jambangan district, but to no avail as the crowd insisted on dispersing the gathering.
Sawahan police head AKP Wisnu Setyawan Kuncoro said KAMI did not secure permission to hold the event at Gedung Juang. "The organizers should have taken into account the COVID-19 pandemic situation," the officer said as quoted by kompas.com.
Executive vice chairman of KAMI's East Java chapter, Agus Maksum, deplored the blockade action, saying the organizers had previously sent a letter regarding the event to the police.
He further said that Monday's event was merely an internal gathering among KAMI members and did not involve a large number of people.
Gatot Nurmantyo, a member of the KAMI presidium, who originally planned to give a speech at the event, suspected the protest was orchestrated and sponsored by someone, though he did not elaborate on his statement.
"[...] However, if the police insist on dispersing this event, we will comply with the order," said Gatot, who is also a former commander of the Indonesian Military (TNI).
Gatot, together with 150 other national figures and prominent government critics, such as Rachmawati Soekarnoputri – the daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno – former coordinating maritime affairs minister Rizal Ramli and Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsudin, formed the coalition in August this year.
Din previously explained that KAMI was a moral movement aiming to prevent any deviations from Indonesia's founding principles, as its founders felt that the country had apparently strayed from the founding principles and that political parties and the House of Representatives had failed to uphold the will of the people. (Vny)