"In case of a problem, it can be settled through communications, instead of rallies. Demonstrations should be treated as only the last resort if communication fails," he told newsmen at the Headquarters of the Indonesian Defense Forces, in response to a demonstration by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) at the Indonesia Police Headquarters that day.
He said demonstrations are normal in a democratic country, so long as they are not aimed at undermining certain quarters.
"Do not make it into a trend to suppress, put someone in difficulties, smear someone or the government or undermine the government. That is what we do not want to happen in a democratic country," he said.
Freedom of expression in public, he noted, is guaranteed by the law, but it does not mean the right could be used at will by ignoring existing regulations.
"The solution for the future is that the right to express oneself in public is allowed, but there are also regulations and requirements to abide by. Any violation of the regulations will be confronted by law enforcement personnel," he said.
Wiranto said he disapproved of FPIs decision to conduct a demonstration at the police headquarters, saying that any problem could be settled through communications.
"Let us be grateful and not curse, instead. People must not easily take to the street, because it will only consume our energy as a nation. Security forces should be given time to rest and not be given more assignments. Problems must be settled through communication first. Five or ten people could come, instead of a mass. Anyone wishing to meet me, please go ahead. I will welcome him," he said.
FPI held a mass demonstration at the Indonesia Police Headquarters on Monday to protest against a number of parties, including the chief of the West Java regional police command, Inspector General Anton Charliyan.
FPI representatives, led by spokesman Munarman, were received by the head of the Public Information Bureau of Indonesia Police Public Relations Division, Brigadier General Rikwanto, and head of the Community Headquarters Service, Senior Commissioner, Budi Widjanarko.(*)