Amid strong public criticism that the police were being weak against hard-liners such as the Islamic Defenders Front, the force took action and prevented the group from destroying shops selling alcoholic beverages in Garut, West Java on Tuesday evening.
Members of the FPI banged hard on the door of the shop in Garut and tried to break it down. Police arrived and threatened to arrest anyone trying to force their way into the shop, the Antara news agency reported on Wednesday.
“Arrest anyone who resorts to violence,” Garut Police deputy chief Comr. Legawa Utama told his officers according to Antara.
Several police officers immediately secured every corner of the building.
The FPI mob said they were willing to withdraw but demanded that the police confiscate the alcoholic beverages being sold by the shop. The police denied the request arguing that they could not forcefully break into the shop without an official warrant.
The shop’s owner finally opened the door allowing the police and a representative of the FPI to enter. Police then confiscated some bottles of alcoholic beverages from the shop, and the FPI mob dispersed.
“We will observe the shop and the owner will be charged with a light crime,” Legawa said.
It is illegal in Indonesia to sell liquor stronger than 5 percent alcohol outside of select businesses like hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and duty-free shops. Beer can be sold anywhere.
The move came on the heels of a raid by FPI members on a warehouse in Garut on Monday evening. The mob forced its way in and destroyed thousands of bottles of alcoholic drinks.