... I came in the morning and was told by the security guards that it would be held in the afternoon... "
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Thousands of people flocked to the presidential palace on Thursday to shake hands with President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono on the occasion of Idul Fitri.

In celebration of the post-Ramadan festivities, President Yudhoyono held an open house at the palace for members of the general public from 3.30pm onward but people had already started arriving there at noon.

However, they entered the palace in an orderly fashion and patiently waited their turn at what was specially prepared as a waiting area to shake hands with the President and the First Lady.

They were served with mineral water and wafers during the waiting period.

Irfi, a resident from Kebayoran, said it was the first time he shook hands with the President at the palace. She said she had deliberately come early in the morning to confirm whether an open house for the public was indeed going to be held at the palace.

"I came in the morning and was told by the security guards that it would be held in the afternoon," Irfi stated.

She was accompanied to the palace by her husband, her month-old baby, and two nephews. Irfi said she came to the city because she wished to meet and shake hands with the President.

A parliament member, Tantowi Yahya, and his wife, were also seen among the people lining up for their turn.

The event was highlighted by musical performances.

Before meeting with the public, President Yudhoyono at the same place received state officials, political figures, and foreign representatives.

Traditionally, Indonesians visit each other on Idul Fitri to exchange greetings and apologies.

Editor: Ade P Marboen
Copyright © ANTARA 2013