Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama inspecting a drainage system during a 'blusukan' in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, on Monday (31/10). (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A.)

Ahok Forced to Escape on Public Transportation When Confronted by Group During 'Blusukan'

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN & EKO PRASETYO

NOVEMBER 02, 2016

Jakarta. A group of people claiming to be residents of Rawa Belong in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, confronted incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama while he was on an impromptu visit, or blusukan, to the area on Wednesday (02/11).

The gubernatorial candidate visited Salam Raya to inspect the Sekretaris River as part of his re-election campaign. Before the incident, he met with residents to ask them about the flooding.

While stopping to greet some more people in a narrow alley, the unknown group confronted Ahok by shouting at him to leave.

Despite this, Ahok continued on his way until the situation forced his bodyguards and aides to advise him to leave the area. One of his aides flagged down a public minibus, known as a mikrolet, which took Ahok to the Kebon Jeruk Police station.

While he was being evacuated, dozens of people tried to chase after him, while throwing bottles and eggs at the vehicle.

Bad Precedent for Democracy

While at the police station, Ahok said the incident has damaged the democratic process.

The governor said that before he was confronted by the unknown group, all residents of Jalan Ayub he had met welcomed his visit.

"The public welcomed me, especially the locals. However, there have been these people shouting. I think it is immature," Ahok said.

The confrontation, which almost ended in chaos, alarmed residents, who became fearful after hearing the shouting and harsh language.

"Our nation's laws may not be flouted. There must be rules. The rules have been agreed upon; that's it. If it's like this, members of the public will be afraid after they hear such noise and shouting," the governor said.

However, Ahok indicated that he did not intend to increase the size of his security detail, including police officers assigned to protect him.

"Why should I add some more? It is not like I want to fight. What is there to be guarded? How? We just get out of the way. We just go and see the people [without additional security personnel]," he said.

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