Touted as purely religious event, 212 Reunion rallies behind Prabowo for president

CNN Indonesia – December 2, 2018
Banner distributed to 212 Reunion participants - December 2, 2018 (Istimewa)
Banner distributed to 212 Reunion participants - December 2, 2018 (Istimewa)

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – The name of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto was shouted repeatedly during a 212 Reunion action on December 2 at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta with a number of demonstrators calling for Prabowo to become president in 2019.

Initially, several groups at the action sung the national anthem Indonesia Raya. The action coordinator then screamed out “God is great”, which was repeated by the crowd.

He then called out the name Prabowo. “Prabowo” called out the action coordinator. “President”, screamed the crowd in response.

The official 212 Reunion itself started at 3am in the morning with joint midnight prayers, which was then followed by dawn prayers and the zikir – chanting in praise of Allah.

Thousands of people had been arriving since 6am and several among them had walked from nearby Cikini, the Horse Statue and Jl. Kebon Sirih.

Roads leading to Monas were also closed because they were being used to park vehicles belonging to those taking part in the 212 Reunion. The entire length of Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan from the entrance to the Ikatan Restaurant and Indonesia Park (IRTI) were filled with parked cars.

The participants brought paraphernalia bearing the tauhid – the Islamic creed “There is no God but Allah”. A number of roads had indeed been closed since early morning including those from Cikini to Jl. M Ridwan Rais which were redirected towards Kwitang. Traffic from Jl. Abdul Muis heading towards Jl. Budi Kemuliaan was redirected towards Harmoni.

A smiling Prabowo

Presidential candidate and Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto, who was invited to the reunion as a special guest, arrived at around 7.40am. He came wearing a white koko (a kind of pajama-like garment), black sunglasses and a black kopiah cap.

Prabowo was welcomed by the crowd as he walked towards the VIP guest area. Although security personnel had formed a line, many still tried to shake hands with Prabowo.

“Prabowo! Allahuakbar! [God is Great]”, screamed the crowd.

Prabowo could be seen smiling repeatedly and greeted the people on the left and right as he quickly walked towards the VIP tent guided by his aide.

Prabowo arrived accompanied by Gerindra deputy chairperson Fadli Zon and House of Representatives (DPR) deputy speaker Fahri Hamzah. The pair walked behind Prabowo and immediately entered the VIP area.

“Prabowo for president!”, screamed the crowd. (bmw/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Massa Reuni Aksi 212 Serukan Prabowo Subianto Presiden 2019”.]