Dozens of conservative Muslims marched in Indonesia’s capital on Friday, calling for the cancellation of Coldplay’s upcoming concert over the British band’s support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Coldplay is renowned for interlacing its values with its shows, such as the band's push for environmental sustainability. Lead singer Chris Martin has been known to wear rainbow colors and wave gay pride flags during performances.
The Asian leg of Coldplay's “Music Of The Spheres World Tour” includes a Nov. 15 concert at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium. More than 70,000 tickets were scooped up in less than two hours when sales opened in May.
Jakarta is one of the band’s top streaming hubs with 1.6 million fans in the city.
Critics say Coldplay's show is suggestive, and that the band's support for the LGBTQ+ community threatens to undermine Indonesia's moral fiber and corrupt its youth.
Nearly 100 demonstrators, many holding banners and signs, filled a major thoroughfare in Jakarta after Friday prayers.
The protesters — organized by Islamist group the 212 Brotherhood Alumni, whose name refers to the Dec. 2, 2016 mass protests against the polarizing Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — chanted “God is Great” and “We reject Coldplay” as they marched to the heavily guarded British Embassy in Jakarta.
“We are here for the sake of guarding our young generation in this country from efforts that could corrupt youth,” said Hery Susanto, a protester from West Java’s city of Bandung. “As Indonesian Muslims, we have to reject the Coldplay concert.”
Novel Bamukmin, a protest coordinator, gave a speech criticizing the government for allowing the band to hold a concert in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. He said if the concert was not canceled, thousands of protesters would confront the band on its way from the airport.
“Coldplay has long been a strong supporter of LGBT and its lead singer is an atheist,” Bamukmin said, standing on the top of a truck, “We must reject their campaign, their concert here.”
Martin has said he is an “Alltheist,” a term describing broad spiritual beliefs that don't ascribe to any specific religion.
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno assured Coldplay fans there would be no disruptions to the concert.
“We will make sure there are no threats coming from any group,” Uno had said back in May, adding that he would explain to anyone trying to stop the show that the concert will help revitalize the country's economy, which has suffered since the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s most influential Islamic body, asked the show's promoters, PK Entertainment, to ensure there would be no LGBTQ-themed acts or messages during Wednesday's concert.
PK Entertainment, founded in 2015, has succeeded in bringing a number of world class musicians such as Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, The Backstreet Boys, and Justin Bieber to Indonesia. The company and one one of its founder, Peter Harjani, could not be reached for comment.
On its website and social media platforms, the company on Friday posted usual information for Coldplay fans, such as how to get e-tickets ahead of the concert.
Although Indonesia is secular and has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.
Lady Gaga canceled her sold-out show in Indonesia in 2012 over security concerns after Muslim hard-liners threatened violence if the pop star went ahead with her “Born This Way Ball" concert.
British pop rock band The 1975 canceled its shows in Jakarta and Taipei after the Malaysian government cut short a music festival in the wake of the band’s lead singer slamming the country’s anti-gay laws and kissing a male bandmate during their performance.
Associated Press writer Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.