Jakarta – The Jakarta Police will ramp up patrols around convenience stores and shopping centers following the burning of French products by an Islamic group that also called for a boycott in response to French President Emmanuel Macron's recent statements on Islam.
According to the police, 21 members of the Islamic Youth Movement (GPI), including representative Diko Nugraha, bought French products – bottles of drinking water, biscuits, and milk – from a minimarket in Menteng, Central Jakarta, and burned them on Wednesday as a protest against Macron's statement.
"Diko Nugraha said [the burning] was symbolic and represented the Indonesian people's disappointment in President Macron," Menteng Police criminal investigation unit head Comr. Gozali Luhulima said on Thursday.
The GPI also called for a boycott of French products, demanded that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo cut diplomatic ties with Paris and deport all French citizens and the ambassador from Indonesia.
Heru said the GPI members had not committed any crime because they had bought the products instead of raiding a store, adding they had burned the items in their own headquarters.
However, to prevent similar protests carried out in public spaces, Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Heru Novianto said police patrols would be bumped up around minimarkets in the area, adding that officers would take firm action against sweeps or raids.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus added that security would be increased in shopping centers with additional officers backing up the malls' security guards.
Last week, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) also called for a French product boycott in a written statement signed by secretary-general Anwar Abbas. Muslim countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have already begun boycotting French-made goods.
In his speech earlier this month, Macron outlined new measures to combat "radical Islamism" and terrorism, aiming to "liberate French Islam from foreign influences". He also defended the right of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.
His remarks have sparked protests from Muslim communities worldwide that deemed the statement insulting to Islam. The Indonesian government has also condemned the statement, calling it "disrespectful". (mfp)