Yiyik Kerr, Perth – Approximately 500 Indonesians residing in Perth and surrounding areas in Western Australia gathered on the Swan River foreshore on Saturday afternoon to join the waves of support for inactive Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
Local Indonesian community figures spoke of the need, now more than ever, to stand with the country's leaders, both Ahok and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
"I am a double minority – Chinese and Christian – and normally I would stay out of politics, but not this time. I feel I have to say something, and I call on the silent majority – moderate Muslims everywhere in the country – to get vocal, too," Perth resident Daniel Ong said.
He said that despite living in the relative comfort of Perth, the Indonesians gathered that afternoon shared the same sadness and deep concern felt by fellow citizens back home.
Some were seen carrying banners that read #SaveAhok, calling for the suspension of Ahok from detention. Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.
Through the event, they wanted to express their wish for a peaceful Indonesia and reaffirm their commitment to the country's motto: "unity in diversity."
Wearing red and white, the crowd sang the national anthem and other patriotic songs, before posing for cameras, videos and a drone in the formation of the letters NKRI, an abbreviation for Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia). (dmr)