Hundreds of conservative Muslims held a demonstration outside Coldplay’s first-ever concert in Indonesia to protest the band’s past support for the LGBTQ community.
Several Islamic groups had called for the British band’s concert in the Muslim-majority country to be canceled due to their views regarding LGBTQ rights, which they say are in opposition to the country’s conservative religious and moral values.
Coldplay has been known for being outspoken about their political and social views on various issues, with lead singer Chris Martin having previously worn rainbow colors and waving gay Pride flags during performances as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
The band was scheduled to play before a crowd of 70,000 at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in the capital city of Jakarta on Wednesday, November 15, as part of its “Music of the Spheres World Tour,” which sold out within hours of tickets going on sale, reports Agence France-Presse.
Outside the concert, at least 300 conservative Muslim demonstrators calling themselves the “anti-LGBT movement” chanted and held banners accusing Coldplay of spreading “LGBT propaganda” and damaging the country’s “faith and morals.”
They also booed and heckled concertgoers, accusing them of being LGBTQ supporters, demanding the show’s cancellation, and denouncing the band. The same protest group also staged demonstrations at several locations in Jakarta in the run-up to the concert.
The same protest group also staged demonstrations last week at several locations in Jakarta, including outside the British Embassy, reports NBC News.
When some of the protesters began pushing and shoving, police attempted to step in and restore order. That created back-and-forth altercations between police and protesters, with 4,000 police in total being deployed to secure the concert.
Jakarta police spokesman Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told reporters that the protesters did not have a permit to stage a rally.
Anwar Abbas, the deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Indonesia’s most powerful Islamic regulatory body, criticized officials for allowing the show to continue.
“We know that Coldplay supports LGBT, but now the question is, is the LGBT behavior in line with… our constitution?” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “There are six religions recognized in this country, and not one of them allows and tolerates LGBT practice.”
Homosexuality is not explicitly outlawed in Indonesia, except in conservative Aceh province, where Sharia law is enforced. But same-sex relations and LGBTQ legal protections are largely opposed in the conservative Muslim-majority society, and LGBTQ people can face persecution and discrimination at the hands of their fellow citizens in their daily lives.
Coldplay has not commented on the protests, but posted an image of lead singer Chris Martin walking barefoot through central Jakarta on Facebook on Tuesday.
The band’s drummer Will Champion, later posted to the band’s X account, writing: “[B]etter late than never: it took us 25 years to get to Jakarta and it took me until the B-Stage section of the show to remember to post this photo..! It’s hot and steamy and absolutely amazing. Thank you for waiting for us.”
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