Indonesia’s notorious traffic jam forces president to walk

Graft-ridden Indonesia is home to one of Asia’s most inefficient bureaucracies and traffic gridlock plagues many of the archipelago’s largest towns. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2017
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Indonesia’s notorious traffic jam forces president to walk

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s notorious traffic congestion was on display for the world Thursday after the country’s president was forced to walk two kilometers through the scorching heat to attend a military parade.
Graft-ridden Indonesia is home to one of Asia’s most inefficient bureaucracies and gridlock plagues many of the archipelago’s largest towns.
The country’s traffic nightmares were aptly illustrated when President Joko Widodo had to walk more than two kilometers to attend a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the Indonesian military’s founding.
Widodo and senior government officials were held up by gridlock as they approached the military parade in Cilegon, a port city about two-and-a-half hours drive from the capital Jakarta, the presidential palace said.

After a 30-minute wait, “the president then decided from inside the car that he would walk,” Widodo’s guard Ili Dasili said in a statement.
National police chief Tito Karnavian, who was also stuck in the jam, joined the president.
Video footage shows the president walking with a phalanx of security personnel while spectators yell and chant his name.
Widodo’s unorthodox entrance wasn’t lost on social media users, who questioned why the leader of Southeast Asia’s largest economy was compelled to walk to the event.
“How come the president walked for two kilometers to the military anniversary location, why didn’t they give him the privilege of vacating the road or taking him in a helicopter?” Twitter user @Pujithegooners wrote.


Protesters demonstrate outside UK parliament over visit of Qatari Emir

Updated 58 sec ago
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Protesters demonstrate outside UK parliament over visit of Qatari Emir

  • Scores of protesters took to the streets outside the UK’s parliament building in London on Monday
  • The demonstrations come after several recent stories have drawn Londoners’ attention to Qatar’s actions

LONDON: Scores of protesters took to the streets outside the UK’s parliament building in London on Monday to voice their objections to the visit of Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Al-Thani arrived is in the UK for a visit that has already drawn criticism and become mired in controversy, with activists demonstrating outside the Palace of Westminster on Monday against Qatar’s continued support for terrorism across the Middle East region.
The demonstrations come after several recent stories have drawn Londoners’ attention to Qatar’s actions. The BBC recently revealed new evidence that a $1 billion ransom paid by Doha for the release of 28 Qataris kidnapped in Iraq was used to fund terror.
Last month, the UK Parliament launched an investigation into the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK, a shadowy group with alleged ties to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, after the videotaping of an event apparently breached parliamentary rules.
The emir arrived on Sunday as several banners over prominent roads in London were seen, with the hashtag #OpposeQatarVisit and asking the question: “If a country was accused of paying $1 billion in a ransom to terrorist groups… then why is the UK government rolling out the red carpet for the Qatar Emir?”
The full details of the Qatari Emir’s visit have not been disclosed officially by the UK government, but sources told Arab News his visit is likely to start on Monday with a meeting with UK business leaders and a speech in Parliament later on in the day.
His meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and other members of the UK government will take place on Tuesday.