Agus Setyadi, Jakarta – New Year’s Eve in the Acehnese provincial capital of Aceh was not celebrated this year as it was in other parts of Indonesia. City residents just passed through the city’s streets and there was no gathering of people.
According to Detik’s observations, in the final minutes before the changing of the year on Monday December 31, Banda Aceh mayor Aminullah Usman and his entourage patrolled several locations in the city were they suspected there may be festivities.
They did not however find any groups of people gathering on the side of the road or at tourist hangouts.
Usman then stopped at the Simpang Lima traffic circle in the centre of the city. There, the mayor appealed to local people not to celebrate the New Year using amplification systems. A joint team of public order officials also stood guard at various points asking residents not to stop their vehicles.
When the clock showed midnight, no sounds of fireworks or trumpets could be heard although the flow of traffic on the road was quite heavy. The mayor’s entourage left the Simpang Lima traffic circle at around 12.30am.
“In Banda Aceh there were no indications of celebrations which violate [Islamic] customs such as setting off firecrackers or firework displays, illegal racing and the like. I was also patrolling [the streets] earlier and there were no violations as we had earlier ordered”, Usman told reporters on Tuesday January 1.
The Banda Aceh municipal government formed 11 teams to prevent any firework displays or other kinds of celebrations. The team was deployed across nine municipal sub-districts in the city, which once earned the title of the City of Glittering Lights.
“We deployed teams at posts to monitor [the situation]”, explained Usman. As of 5am, there were no gatherings of people and the streets were quiet like any other night. (agse/abw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tanpa Perayaan, Begini Suasana Malam Pergantian Tahun di Aceh”.]