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.
Massa pendukung Imam Besar FPI Habib Rizieq Syihab memadati area Terminal 3 Bandara Soekarno-Hatta, Tangerang. Mereka menunggu di area luar terminal kedatangan. #TopNews https://t.co/5dRvjrx1na pic.twitter.com/PXGaFlacQK
— kumparan (@kumparan) November 10, 2020
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.
Sebagian besar massa simpatisan Habib Riziek Shihab (HRS) telah meninggalkan Terminal 3 bandara Soekarno-hatta. Namun, berbagai kerusakan akibat massa yang berdesakan tak bisa dihindari.
Stop Aksi Perparah Pandemi#WaktunyaKerjaBukanAksihttps://t.co/0XVyfhoBd9
— E L I S Y A (@LILApama2011) November 10, 2020
Police say they have enforced traffic adjustments in Petamburan and its surrounding areas as the crowds are expected to gather throughout the day.