Over 100 people marched down the streets of Renon, Denpasar today to protest criminal charges against Balinese musician I Gede Ari Astana aka Jerinx, the latest in a series of community support for the controversial figure.
Under the rallying call “Free JRX,” in reference to the Superman Is Dead (SID) drummer’s other nickname, and clad in black, at least 100 people participated in the rally demanding for his immediate release.
Though there were barely any physical distancing, most of the protesters appeared to be wearing masks while some held up signs that says #BebaskanJRXSID (Free SID’s Jerinx) and #SayaBersamaJRX (I’m with Jerinx), among others.
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Jerinx is currently detained for alleged defamation and hate speech over a social media post deemed insulting by the Balinese chapter of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI).
In a post uploaded to his Instagram account @jrxsid on June 13, Jerinx accused IDI of being “flunkeys” to the World Health Organization (WHO). He said that tests to detect COVID-19 are inaccurate and questioned why the association and hospitals in Indonesia are making it a requirement for mothers who are giving birth.
Bokis, who coordinated today’s rally, said Jerinx shouldn’t be criminally charged for speaking on behalf of the people about the disputed necessity of rapid tests.
“JRX did it because there have been concerns [among the public]. There are many young mothers who lost their babies because of the rapid test requirement,” Bokis said, as quoted by Kumparan.
Rapid tests are indeed inaccurate means of screening for the coronavirus, a matter that health experts in Indonesia have also pointed out over the past couple of months. However, the test is still required for many administrative requirements in the country, including for travel and women who are giving birth in hospitals.
However, Jerinx’s vocal rejection against rapid tests happened along with his active sharing and endorsement of COVID-19-related conspiracy theories on social media, including calls for people to stop wearing masks during the pandemic.
In spite of that, his detainment has evidently sparked an outpouring of community support from across Indonesia, as it illustrates yet another example of the problematic Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE).
This includes banners and posters popping up in a showcase of solidarity with Jerinx as well as dozens of people who gathered to show their support at the Bali Police headquarters last month.
Jerinx’s trial is set to begin virtually this coming Thursday.