Indonesian Government Offers Evicted Church Members $400,000 To Move Locations
10/31/2011 Indonesia (The Jakarta Globe) – The congregation of the GKI Yasmin church held Sunday mass on a roadside for yet another week, but it was forced to halt services after angry locals began protesting and the Bogor administration pledged to pay for their relocation.
Tensions rose between local residents and worshippers, with a heavy police presence preventing physical confrontation.
Church spokesman Bona Sigalingging said the provocation began on Saturday night.
“Around 9 p.m. someone purporting to be a security officer erected two banners around our church building,” Bona said.
“The banners had Bogor city seals and basically said that for public order reasons, we would not be allowed to conduct services on the sidewalk outside our church as we normally do, but to worship at the Harmoni Yasmin building.”
He said church officials had met with public order officers who gave them permission to hold Sunday services in front of Hermina Hospital, adjacent to the GKI Yasmin church building, which remains sealed off.
“Not long after we began, around 30 people from the [so-called] Muslim Communication Forum [Forkami] broke up the service,” Bona said.
A shoving match then ensued. To avoid a potential brawl, security officers drove worshippers away in police vehicles while Forkami members were allowed to remain at the scene.
Bogor administration official Ade Syarif Hidayat said the city was willing to give the church Rp 3.5 billion ($400,000) to relocate to a different area.