Freedom of expression exercised in accordance with regulations: Jokowi

Freedom of expression exercised in accordance with regulations: Jokowi

President Joko Widodo commonly known as Jokowi during a press conference after speaking at the National Democrat Party`s occasion, Saturday (1/9/2019). (Agus Salim)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has defended the police`s acts of securing the law and order in dealing with the people`s rights to freedom of association and expression, arguing that they should be exercised in accordance with regulations.

"In a democratic state, there are the rights to freedom of assembly, expression, and association, but, once again, they are exercised in accordance with regulations. Do not break security and social order," he said here on Saturday evening.

Speaking at the National Democrat Party`s occasion, President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, said the police have done well in ensuring the implementation of the security and social order for the sake of the people`s cause.

"If the police do not do anything, then a clash occurs, who will be blamed? The police will again be blamed," said the head of state, who has attempted to get reelected in next year`s presidential race.

Along with his running mate, Ma`ruf Amin, Jokowi is challenged by Chief Patron of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto, who has selected Sandiaga Uno, former deputy Jakarta governor, as his vice presidential candidate.

According to Jokowi, making efforts to defend the order and security is part of the police`s duties.

Despite massive support for Jokowi`s reelection bid, there are still groups that endorse the #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) movement in different parts of the country, such as Medan (North Sumatra), Batam (Riau Islands), and Pekanbaru (Riau).

However, persecutions against the key figures and those supporting the #2019ChangePresident movement have frequently occurred in certain parts of the country. The latest incident happened in Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau Province.

Neno Warisman, one of the leading figures of the movement, recently failed to join those wanting to declare the movement in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, after being forced by the local security apparatus to return to Jakarta.

Before being forced to get back to Jakarta by a commercial aircraft, Neno Warisman said she kept staying inside a sedan that would transport her to Pekanbaru city for at least six hours.

The car could not get out of the Sultan Syarif Kasim International Airport after the gate of the airport complex area was blocked by the opponents of the #2019ChangePresident movement that staged a noisy rally under the local police`s tight security.

In response to this situation, Prabowo Subianto condemned the acts of letting the persecutions against those supporting the movement who want to exercise their rights to freedom of expression.

"Democracy demands freedoms of expression, associate, and assembly," he told participants of a seminar, organized for reviewing his book titled "The Paradox of Indonesia, Prabowo Subianto`s Strategic Perspectives: Rich Country, But Many of Its People Remain Poor" here recently.

The people`s fundamental rights are guaranteed by the state`s constitution and democracy.

According to Prabowo Subianto, among the community members, who wish to declare the #2019ChangePresident movement, are housewives. "There is a housewife, wanting to declare the movement, is expelled in her own country."

"She wants to come to a city in her country but she is expelled. Is this the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia that its founding fathers want to build?" he said.

As a country, which has been independent for 73 years, the state apparatuses must well serve and take care of all citizens, who want to express their aspirations and fight for their rights, he said.

Therefore, Prabowo Subianto said he is deeply concerned with the state apparatuses, who actually belong to the state and the nation but fail to understand that they must protect the whole people of Indonesia.

"The state apparatuses do not belong to a certain group in the country. I think, this is absolutely against the state`s constitution," he said.

If the acts of violating the state`s constitution remain allowed to happen, the history of human being has revealed that the people will not accept the condition if it is not improved.

Reporting by Agus Salim

Editing by Rahmad Nasution