In Jakarta, protesters condemn Trump's refugee ban
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Dump Trump. No Fascists. Refugees Welcome.
These were only some of the signs at a small protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Saturday, February 4.
Only about 25 protesters were present, carrying signs condeming American President Donald Trump's latest Executive Order which temporarily bans entry of citizens of 7 Muslim-majority nations, and the admission of refugees for 120 days.
Most of the protesters covered their faces with cloth to hide their identity, and later, burned the posters they carried.
Indonesia, the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world, is not part of the ban, but it is a transit country for many refugees who are waiting for resettlement in a third country.
Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer focused on refugees, was among the protesters present.
"We are here to protest the fascist and racist policies that Trump has enforced," she told Rappler. "The biggest impact of the Muslim ban is not just that… it’s Islamophobic, it also has a big impact on refugees around the world including Indonesia."
She added, "The U.S. receives the highest number of refugees from Indonesia. If U.S. closes its doors then the refugees who have been living in limbo in Indonesia, it means their conditions will get much worse."
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are currently about 14,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Indonesia waiting to be resettled. Some have been in Indonesia for years, waiting in limbo. (READ: Hidden away in Jakarta's back streets, refugees wait for years to live decently)
Koman says there are refugees in Indonesia from the 7 countries under Trump's current ban. She also said that refugees have expressed concern after the order.
"But they can't say it publicly because Indonesia is not very welcoming towards refugees here, that's why I think they are better off in 3rd countries where they will be protected and have rights," she said.
Koman said the protesters came to express solidarity with those affected by the ban and those who oppose the EO.
"We just want to voice to the U.S. and the world, that hey - Indonesians also are in solidarity with the American people and basically the citizens of the world because this is affecting the world."
The protest ended with no violence. Diplomatic police head Haryanto, who like many Indonesians go by one name, said they knew the protest would be small.
In Indonesia, protesters must inform police of their intention to rally at least a day before the demonstration. Haryanto said the police deployed 60 officers, knowing there would be about 30 protesters.
Globally, there has been outcry against Trump's latest policy, which saw 100,000 visas revoked. A U.S. judge blocked the order on Friday, but the administration said it would fight the ruling.– Rappler.com