A Coldplay concert in Indonesia on Wednesday was marred by violent clashes between riot police and conservative Muslims, who protested the band’s support for the LGBT+ community.
More than 200 conservative Muslims demonstrated outside the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, where Coldplay was performing on Wednesday (16 November), and demanded the event be cancelled.
Protesters jeered at concert-goers and clashed with police outside the venue where Chris Martin and the band were performing.
The demonstrators reportedly held a large banner that read: “Reject, cancel and disband Coldplay concerts”. Protesters said the band’s pro-LGBT+ views were in conflict with the country’s “faith and morals”.
The same protest group had also organised demonstrations last week at multiple sites in Jakarta, including outside the British Embassy, reported the Associated Press.
Various Islamic groups had earlier called for the cancellation of the British band’s inaugural concert in predominantly Muslim Indonesia. Again they cited the band’s perspective on LGBT+ rights, which they said clashed with their beliefs.
Lead vocalist Martin is known for donning rainbow colours and displaying gay pride flags during his performances.
At least 4,000 security officials were deployed in and around the Coldplay venue. Local police said the demonstrators calling for the cancellation of the concert did not have permission to stage a rally.
“We know that Coldplay supports LGBT+, but now the question is, is the LGBT+ behaviour in line with... our constitution?” Anwar Abbas, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Indonesia’s most powerful Islamic regulatory body, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“There are six religions recognised in this country, and not one of them allows and tolerates LGBT+ practice.”
In Indonesia, a Muslim-majority nation, homosexuality is a taboo topic even though it is banned only in the country’s Sharia-ruled Aceh province.
Earlier this year The 1975 cancelled planned shows in Taiwan and Indonesia, calling it “impossible to proceed” with their Asia tour dates after frontman Matt Healy criticised the Malaysian government’s stance on LGBT+ rights and kissed a male bandmate on stage. Malaysia’s government called Healy “rude” and said the band was banned from ever playing in the country again.
In 2012 Lady Gaga called off a concert in Jakarta, citing security concerns, amid protests by Indonesian religious groups. The pop star said at the time that she was “devastated” by the decision.
Indonesian police, responding to objections from Islamic groups who deemed her tour shows too vulgar, had declined to issue a permit for Lady Gaga’s concert.
In July this year, the southeast Asian LGBT+ event Asean Queer Advocacy Week was cancelled in Indonesia due to security threats.
Reuters reported that other LGBT+ related events have also been cancelled in Indonesia due to objections from Islamic groups.
In December last year, the US called off a visit by its LGBT+ special envoy after an influential clerical body denounced the trip.
Additional reporting by agencies
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