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07 November 2016

Anti-Ahok Protest Causes Huge Financial Losses: Kadin

Most stores in Tanah Abang, Southeast Asia’s largest textile market, in Central Jakarta, closed early on Friday following the start of the demonstration by around 100,000 people demanding the police prosecute Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged religious defamation. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

The highly anticipated rally against Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on Friday that saw some 100,000 people swarm the streets of Jakarta likely caused significant financial losses to the capital’s business sector. 

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Kadin) Jakarta chapter deputy chairman Sarman Simanjorang estimated potential losses of around Rp 500 billion (US$38 million) as a result of the demonstration on Friday.

Sarman said the calculation was based on the assumption that nearly 20,000 stores in shopping districts and shopping centers closed down because of the rally. 

“If one store makes Rp 25 million worth of transactions per day, potential losses reach up to Rp 500 billion,” he said.

The massive rally, possibly the biggest since the 1998 uprising, reportedly affected the flow of logistics while visitor numbers to malls, cafes and restaurants fell by up to 50 percent.

“Most meetings or other events whose venues were near the Presidential Palace had been canceled,” he said, adding that offices around Jl. Sudirman, Thamrin, Hayam Wuruk and Gadjah Mada in Central Jakarta also took the day off.

Shopping centers like Glodok, Mangga Dua and Cempaka Emas also closed down. 

Southeast Asia’s biggest textile market Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta was deserted as only few shops were open while the female shoppers who usually packed Tanah Abang train station were replaced by protestors donning white garbs.

The rally was concentrated around the National Monument (Monas) complex where thousands of Muslims demanded Ahok be prosecuted for alleged blasphemy.

Many assumed that the rally would cause headaches as, irrespective of the cause, crowds in Jakarta are notorious for littering and damaging parks, causing financial losses to the city. However, the venues on Jl. Merdeka Selatan, Jl. Merdeka Barat and Jl. Merdeka Utara were relatively tidy with personnel from the Sanitation Agency and the protesters themselves doing their bit to maintain cleanliness.

Rally orators equipped with megaphones also reminded the protesters not to litter. 

“We will prove to them that we can be regulated,” one of the orators said in front of City Hall.

Sumarsono, an agency official, said 3,000 trash bags were provided to the protestors.

“We also deployed our orange-uniformed personnel to ensure the venues remained clean,” he said, referring to the agency’s contracted cleaners.

Sumarsono said the protestors, especially the students of renown religious leader Abdullah Gymnasiar, also brought bags to dispose their trash.

“They wanted to show that the protest was also a clean movement,” he said.

He added that the city also equipped Public Orders Agency (Satpol PP) personnel with trash bags.

Forty students from Darul Quran Islamic boarding school, Cipondoh, Tangerang, took part in Friday’s rally by clearing rubbish.

Holding big plastic bags, these male students divided themselves into several groups to clean the city’s main mosque and its surroundings.

“We will stay here during the rally and clean the mosque. Our main aim here is to keep the place tidy,” said one of the students, Hamdan Hamsyah, on Friday. “If here’s already clean, then we may join the rally,” Hamdan said, adding that he and his friends had been in the area since 10 a.m.


Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/05/anti-ahok-protest-causes-huge-financial-losses-kadin.html