Human rights groups accused Indonesian police of working with anti-LGBTI protestors when it shut down a popular transgender event.
On Thursday, police forced the shutdown of Porseni – an annual sports and cultural event for Waria (transgender) and bissu (a gender neutral identity) people in South Sulawesi.
The Islam Congregation Forum protested the event claiming it was not in line with its religious views.
Police forced crowds at Porseni to disperse, allegedly firing warning shots and detaining 600 participants in a hall hours before the start of the parade.
‘We are not allowed to hold the carnival because they said we did not get the permit,’ Askar Mampo, a parade committee member told The Jakarta Post.
Mampo said police gave organisers the green light to hold the event on January 4.
Human rights group voice outrage
Several Indonesian organisations condemned police actions.
‘Police are supposed to implement human rights obligations not deprive the rights of the community, in this case the Transgender and Bissu of South Sulawesi,’ said Asfinawati, chairman, Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI).
The National Commission on Violence Against Women said police actions were unconstitutional and participating in transgender activities was not illegal.
‘These events are not only a threat to the transgender community in South Sulawesi, but are a threat to democracy in Indonesia,’ it said.
Indonesian organisation GAYa Nusantara have called on him to now be consistent with his statement.
Indonesian police helping Islamic groups
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Indonesian police of helping ‘militant Islamists’ to achieve their anti-LGBTI agenda.
‘This is the latest incident in which Indonesian police have openly collaborated with militant Islamists to unlawfully disrupt LGBT-related events and harass and intimidate LGBT people who attend them,’ HRW said.
‘President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should deliver on his stated commitment to defend the rights of LGBT people by making it clear to the Indonesian police they are obligated to protect the rights of all Indonesians, including the country’s LGBT population, rather than conspire with their oppressors.’