Riot cops clash with furious crowd demanding Coldplay gig is cancelled
16th November 2023

Riot cops clash with furious crowd demanding a Coldplay gig is cancelled: Muslims in Indonesia call for the show to be axed over their support for the LGBT community

  • Indonesia has one of Coldplay’s biggest fan bases and tickets quickly sold out
  • The band’s support of gay rights has seen backlash from conservative Muslims 

Hundreds of furious Muslims have been been marching in Indonesia calling for the cancellation of Coldplay’s first concert in the country over the band’s support for the LGBT community.

The Asian leg of Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres World Tour is seeing the British group perform at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium tonight. More than 70,000 tickets were scooped up in less than two hours when sales opened in May.

The band, world famous for songs like Trouble and Yellow, is fronted by Chris Martin, who has previously worn rainbow colours and waved gay pride flags during performances.

Outside the stadium ahead of the concert, at least 300 conservative Muslims gathered to chant and hold banners opposing the show, with thousands of police officers present to protect concertgoers.

Many of the protesters were part of a group that calls itself the ‘anti-LGBT movement’, and when confronted by riot police a number clashed with the officers.

Indonesian policemen try to disperse conservative Muslim activists protesting against LGBT support near the stadium

Many demonstrators were part of a group that calls itself the ‘anti-LGBT movement’ and when confronted by police, protesters started to push and clash with officers

A Muslim woman shouts slogans during a rally against British band Coldplay ahead of its concert in Jakarta, Indonesia

The band is fronted by Chris Martin, who has previously worn rainbow colours and waved gay pride flags during performances

Demonstrators booed at concertgoers arriving at the stadium and shouted that they were LGBT supporters, according to local media reports.

Some carried banners accusing Coldplay of ‘LGBT propaganda’ and damaging the country’s ‘faith and morals’.

Homosexuality is not outlawed in Indonesia except in conservative Aceh province, which adheres to strict Islamic laws.

But gay couples often face persecution and discrimination in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, where homosexuality remains taboo.

Anwar Abbas, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Indonesia’s most powerful Islamic regulatory body, criticised the decision to go on with the show.

‘We know that Coldplay supports LGBT, but now the question is, is the LGBT behaviour in line with… our constitution?’ he said in a statement on Wednesday.

‘There are six religions recognised in this country, and not one of them allows and tolerates LGBT practice.’

Following Friday prayers last week, around 100 demonstrators, many holding banners and signs, chanted ‘God is Great’ and ‘We reject Coldplay’ as they marched to the heavily guarded British Embassy in Jakarta.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin with band manager Phil Harvey on a pedestrian bridge in Jakarta

Chris Martin has said he is an ‘Alltheist,’ a term describing broad spiritual beliefs that don’t ascribe to any specific religion. Pictured in Jakarta ahead of the concert

Protesters have flocked to the centre of the capital again today, blocking traffic on a major thoroughfare ahead of the concert.

Indonesia is home to one of Coldplay’s biggest fan bases, with 1.6 million fans in Jakarta making the city one of the band’s most important streaming hubs.

But conservative Muslims have riled against the group visiting Indonesia, which is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Protesters were organized last week by Islamist group the 212 Brotherhood Alumni – whose name refers to the December 2, 2016 mass protests against the polarizing Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

‘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 on Friday condemning the government for allowing the band to play in Indonesia. 

Muslim women hold posters during a rally against British band Coldplay

A Muslim protester stands against shields of anti-riot police officers as they demand the cancellation of the Coldplay concert

Police in Jakarta deployed nearly 4,000 personnel to secure the sold-out concert

He warned that if the concert was not cancelled, 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.’

Chris Martin has previously described himself as an ‘Alltheist,’ a term which suggests broad spiritual beliefs that do not ascribe to any specific religion.

Jakarta police spokesman Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told reporters today that the protesters did not have a permit to stage a rally.

The police deployed nearly 4,000 personnel to secure the sold-out concert.

The band has not commented on the protests but it posted an image of lead singer Chris Martin walking barefoot through central Jakarta on Tuesday.

Home to 229 million Muslims, Indonesia is the world’s biggest Muslim country in terms of population.

Coldplay is known for interlacing its values with its shows, such as the band’s push for environmental sustainability. 

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