Indonesian Islamic extremist group FPI (Front Pembela Islam, the Islamic Defenders Front) forced the closure of a festival for transgender rights in Jakarta on Monday.
A witness reported that the members of the FPI wore helmets and brought sticks to break-up the event.
Jakarta chief of FPI Salim Alatas denied this, telling Jakarta Globe:
‘The local community did not want the contest to be held in their area. They asked the police if there is a permit for the contest, but there is not.
‘We will deny if there is such thing as a transgender contest in our country. It’s morally destructive and not educating.’
One of the organizers of Festival Waria Berbudaya (Cultural Transgender Festival), Merlyn Sofyan said the festival is ‘an attempt to answer the wrong perceptions in our community by producing decent human resources of waria [transgender women]’.
The 20 attendees left the venue without being hurt and and continued the festival at the Legal Aid Foundation in Jakarta.
in 2010 FPI forced the closure of LGBT film festival Q! in Jakarta.