November 15, 2020, 02.44 AM

JAKARTA, – Indonesian authorities have finally spoken out about mass gatherings that took place in the country between October and November, as they violated government protocols to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Indonesian National Police Chief General Idham Azis observed that the gatherings, which culminated in the Islamic Defenders Front or FPI's rowdy homecoming of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) boss Habib Rizieq on November 10 after three years of exile, caused public unease.

Also read: Indonesian Muslim Cleric Rizieq Shihab's Homecoming Paralyzes Jakarta

“Many people were particularly disturbed by the mob’s disregard for health protocols such as social distancing or wearing masks, as well as their large numbers and proximity to the public at large,” Idham said in a press conference on Saturday, November 14.

“Indonesia is still struggling with Covid-19, which has infected 457,735 people in the country and claimed 15,037 lives. I urge the public to comply with health protocols like wearing masks, practice social distancing, wash one’s hands with soap, and avoid large gatherings for everyone’s safety.”

FPI head Habib Rizieq Shihab speaks to his followers after arriving in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on 10/11/2020MUHAMMAD IQBAL FPI head Habib Rizieq Shihab speaks to his followers after arriving in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on 10/11/2020

Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito reiterated Idham. “I hope that the gathering [to welcome Rizieq at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta Airport] is the last of its kind that we will see, as they greatly increase the chances of coronavirus transmission.”

Also read: Indonesian Muslim Groups Protest Before the French Embassy in Jakarta

Indonesian officials expressed their concerns about the mass gatherings, as the country set a new record of Covid-19 daily transmissions with 5,444 cases over the past 24 hours.

Prior to Rizieq’s return, Indonesia has seen mass nationwide protests against the government’s contentious Jobs Creation Omnibus Law, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks about Islamic separatism in France amid terrorist attacks that took place in Paris and Nice in late October.

(Writer: Ardito Ramadhan | Editors: Irfan Maullana, Icha Rastika)


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