Jakarta bans Christmas and New Year gatherings despite crowds for Rizieq Shihab’s events

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (Left) and Vice Governor Ahmad Riza Patria. Photo: Jakarta Provincial Government
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (Left) and Vice Governor Ahmad Riza Patria. Photo: Jakarta Provincial Government

No, Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab being able to hold events attracting huge crowds last week does not mean we get a free pass to violate health protocols in Jakarta, and that point has been made clear ahead of Christmas and the New Year.

Yesterday, Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria, who is popularly known by his nickname Ariza, stressed that large social gatherings are still prohibited under the capital’s partial lockdown measures amid the pandemic. And that will apply to the holiday season.

“There won’t be crowds like in previous years; there won’t be concerts, dancing, singing in public — not this year,” Ariza said, referring to Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Ariza also pleaded that Jakartans observe prohibitions on crowds during the pandemic.

It’s worth noting that this is the same official who attended Rizieq’s Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday celebration in Tebet, South Jakarta on Saturday, which drew attendees numbering in the thousands. Ariza also reportedly gave a welcoming speech at the event, in which he praised Rizieq.

The Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) fined Rizieq IDR50 million (US$3,540) for the weekend mass gatherings, which the firebrand cleric has reportedly paid.

Jakarta Metro Police Chief Nana Sudjana has been reassigned following the controversy, becoming one of several high ranking officials to take the fall for Rizieq’s crowds thus far. The National Police said other officials, including Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, may be investigated for violation of the health quarantine law by allowing Rizieq to hold his events.

Anies and Ariza denied the assertion, saying they were simply undermanned and unable to disperse the crowds.

Netizens have cried foul over the perceived double standard regarding social gatherings, but reasoned that they can probably party during the pandemic if they prepare IDR50 million to pay the eventual fine.


The sanction is IDR50 million. Hammersonic, the Djakarta Warehouse Project, and Synchronize Fest can pay this. Come on, let’s hold concerts again!

Just pay IDR50 million. Sorted.

Though all of that might have been said in jest, it’s worth remembering that two wrongs don’t make a right, and we should comply with health protocols at all times.

Related — Indonesia may cancel Christmas-New Year collective leave days if outbreak is not contained

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