Elderly man among Rizieq Shihab’s homecoming crowd dies from suspected suffocation

Thousands welcome home FPI leader Rizieq Shihab at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Nov. 10, 2020 after the firebrand cleric’s more than three years of self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Video screengrab from Twitter/@DPPFPI_ID
Thousands welcome home FPI leader Rizieq Shihab at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Nov. 10, 2020 after the firebrand cleric’s more than three years of self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Video screengrab from Twitter/@DPPFPI_ID

An elderly man from Bogor, West Java, who has been identified as Sotong, died in Palmerah, West Jakarta today from suspected asphyxiation as he was among the throngs of supporters gathering to welcome hardline cleric Rizieq Shihab home from years of self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.

Sotong, who sold fish at a market for a living, was reportedly among a crowd of thousands gathering in Palmerah, near the Petamburan neighborhood of Central Jakarta, where Rizieq resides and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which the firebrand cleric founded, is based.

Sotong was reportedly struggling for breath in the sea of Rizieq supporters, and he fell to the ground. Medics immediately came to his aid by giving him oxygen, but the elderly man died at the scene.

“We are still looking into his cause of death,” Palmerah Police Chief Hariyanto told reporters today, confirming Sotong’s death.

Thousands of supporters greeted Rizieq upon his return this morning, first gathering at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, causing numerous flight delays and cancellations as their presence inundated access to the airport. Numerous airlines are waiving reschedule and refund fees in light of the incident.

Rizieq then made his way to his residence in Petamburan. His supporters followed suit and vacated Soekarno-Hatta, where there have been reports of property damage.

Police say they have enforced traffic adjustments in Petamburan and its surrounding areas as the crowds are expected to gather throughout the day.

Related — FPI leader Rizieq Shihab touches down in Indonesia as supporters crowd Soekarno-Hatta Airport

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CITY: JAKARTACATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS, RELIGION

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