President Joko Widodo was a guest of honor at a celebration of the 68th anniversary of Universitas Indonesia (UI) this morning, but the event will perhaps be best remembered for one student’s daring act.
Today, a video has gone viral showing a UI student, who was in the the attendance hall where Jokowi had just finished a speech, stand and hold up a yellow card for the president exactly like a soccer referee would to caution a player. Members of the president’s security detail (Paspampres) then ushered the student out of the hall after he refused to back down.
The student was later identified as Zaadit Taqwa, chairman of the UI Student Executive Council (BEM). He has not responded to Coconuts’ request for comment, but earlier this afternoon BEM posted a video explaining that Zaadit “issued” Jokowi a yellow card to symbolize some students’ displeasure with the president’s recent handling of several key recent issues, including the measles and malnutrition outbreak in the Asmat district of Papua, where around 100 children are feared to have died.
Zaadit did not report being physically harmed by Paspampres when he was ushered out.
Johan Budi, the president’s spokesperson, said Jokowi did not mind the symbolic criticism against him by Zaadit.
“In regards to this action, President Jokowi wasn’t bothered, he didn’t feel insulted,” he said, as quoted by Kompas.
However, the yellow card derailed plans for Jokowi’s meeting with BEM, which was scheduled for after the speech.
Following the incident, the term “Kartu Kuning” (yellow card) became a trending topic on social media, with many praising Zaadit’s non-violent protest method and hoping that his act will inspire others speak up if they want to give the government some constructive criticism.