Indonesia, which has the world’s largest population of Muslims and a history of discriminating against atheists, has floated the idea of making sex before marriage a crime.
That plan, which would punish premarital sex with a full year in prison, was met with protests outside the nation’s parliament. It turned into a full-blown battle when Indonesian police responded with tear gas and water cannons.
The main clashes took place in the capital Jakarta as demonstrators demanded to meet parliament Speaker Bambang Soesatyo.
Protesters pelted police with rocks, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.
One placard held by a woman said: “My crotch does not belong to the government“.
It’s inspiring to see the people of Indonesia standing against a government that values faith over facts.
The would-be change to the criminal code wouldn’t just make sex before marriage illegal, though. It would also ban abortions; make it a crime to insult the president, vice president, or Islam; and outlaw cohabitation.
The measure was delayed once by the president, but Indonesians are still worried it could be forced through. If that were to happen, it would send the country back decades in terms of its civil freedoms. There’s a good reason to worry, too. Remember, this is the same country that launched a “heresy app” last year to encourage citizens to report “blasphemy.” They obviously aren’t above limiting people’s rights.
To make matters worse, Indonesia recently enacted a law that opens the floodgates to corruption. Different reports show that protestors were picketing this issue, so it’s clear there’s unrest on various fronts.
The university students are enraged that Indonesia’s Parliament passed the law last week that reduces the authority of the Corruption Eradication Commission, a key body in fighting endemic graft in the country.
There are several overlapping issues here, but they are all related to a government gone crazy. Let’s hope activists can help reverse the trend.
(Screenshot via YouTube)