The protest against the arrival of Islamic Defenders Front members in Central Kalimantan has inspired a groundswell of similar sentiment in the capital, with one group planning a demonstration against the hardline group on Tuesday.
The group, calling themselves the Movement for an FPI-Free Indonesia, is hoping Jakarta citizens will join the 500 supporters expected to appear at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle at 4 p.m. to speak out against violence and intimidation carried out by hardline religious groups.
Tunggal Pawestri, a spokeswoman for the group, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that supporters had been communicating via Facebook and Twitter intensively over the past two days.
“Yesterday [Sunday] we had our first meeting to arrange this action, 50 people showed up. All of us only communicated via social media,” Tunggal said.
She said that the group was merely trying to harness a constant undercurrent of dislike and anger with the FPI and their often thug-like tactics.
The FPI has been known to raid establishments that sell alcohol, nightclubs and food stalls that remain open during the fasting month of Ramadan, and red-light districts.
Inspiration, she said, came from the news that Dayaks in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, managed to stop a plane carrying FPI members from landing at the local airport.
On Saturday, hundreds of tribesmen stormed the Tjilik Riwut Airport to stop FPI members arriving for the opening of an FPI office.
“The civil society can do something. If Kalimantan can do it, Jakarta can also do it. We are rejecting violence committed by mass organizations,” she said.
Tuesday’s rally will be the first of many, Tunggal added.
She said the purpose of the rally would be to encourage people to speak their minds about the FPI.
“It [the rally] is also being held to offer a counter-opinion: that the FPI and other mass organizations who often use violence are preman [thugs].”
She said that the rallies would also be aimed at airing criticisms at other groups associated with violent vigilante behavior, such as the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR).