Members of the Yesmin Church protested outside the Merdeka Palace, the residence of the Indonesian president, on Sunday following the forced closure of their church by local authorities, Asia News reports.
By Mathias Hariyadi
3/13/2012 Indonesia (AsiaNews) – A group of some 60 members of the Yasmin Church on Sunday staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the Merdeka Palace, residence of the Indonesian president, to remind the current office holder, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, of the principle of freedom of religion and worship. As part of their initiative, they set up stalls showing arts and craft made by children.
The Yasmin Church community in Bogor (West Java) has been in row for a long time with local authorities who forcibly shut down their church. By staging a peaceful protest, Church members want to win the president over to their cause and convince him to change attitudes on the matter.
Despite a ruling by the Supreme Court in favour of the Christians, Mr Yudhoyono has refused to take a stance in the controversial matter that pits Christians against Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto and Muslim extremists.
In a press release, the Yasmin Church members called on the president “to come out to see what our children have made to see how pure they are. We teach them positive values so that they can be honest citizens and respect others,” Christian leaders said.
In their statements, parents want to see their children become “good adults who show respect for others and love the multiethnic nation that is Indonesia.”
As a final point on behalf of the children, the representatives of the Yasmin Church asked, “Why must we pray in the street like travellers instead of using the church” as ruled by the judges of the Supreme Court?