Jakarta – A Gerindra Party Jakarta councillor has defended a controversial photo of dozens of people giving victory signs and posing with a sign reading "congratulations, Ahok imprisoned" and a rice cone, which is traditionally served at thanksgiving parties. The photo went viral on social media.
Councillor Prabowo Soenirman said he, fellow party member Boy Sadikin and dozens of supporters of Jakarta governor-elect Anies Baswedan in the photo were celebrating Anies' election victory over Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
"It was a statement made to represent people who were evicted and fishermen in Jakarta Bay [affected by reclamation]," he said as quoted by kompas.com, referring to Ahok's eviction policy in river restoration projects.
Prabowo said it was a spontaneous group photo and refused to reveal whose idea it was to take such a photo, but emphasized that it was simply a show of support for people who had been affected by Ahok's policies.
The photograph went viral on social media after the North Jakarta District Court handed down a two-year prison sentence to Ahok for blasphemy. The people in the photo were strongly criticized for their lack of empathy for people like Ahok who faced difficulties. (idb)