Rahmat & Agus Triyono
Sandals of all colors and sizes are rapidly accumulating as part of a nation-wide protest against a police officer who took a teenager to court for allegedly stealing a pair of his footwear.
Organizers of the tongue-in-cheek campaign hope to deliver the footwear to the police after First Brig. Ahmad Rusdi took 15-year-old AAL to court in Central Sulawesi’s Palu for allegedly stealing his sandals, valued at Rp 30,000 ($3.30). The boy faces up to five years in prison for the theft of the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officer’s property.
The Indonesian Commission for Child Protection (KPAI) on Thursday announced it would open a collection center to accept cash donations to buy 1,000 pairs of sandals.
On Friday, the campaign appeared to be making progress in several cities where collection points have sprung up, a KPAI volunteer said.
He said that even though the overarching plan was to raise money to buy sandals, the collection points have instead received sandals, mostly old, used flip-flops.
“We already have received 224 pairs,” said the volunteer, working at the KPAI headquarters on Jalan Teuku Umar in Menteng.
He said collection points had also opened in Bekasi, Depok, Cibubur and Tangerang in Greater Jakarta, Palembang in South Sumatra, Solo in Central Java and Palu itself.
“We will [stay] open until January 4. We will gather everything and hand them over to the National Police chief,” the volunteer said.
A local nongovernmental organization opened a collection point at a coffee shop in Palu and had already gathered about 100 pairs of sandals on Friday.
In Palu, the plight of AAL prompted Ruslan Sangaji to march to the Central Sulawesi governor’s office, then on to the provincial legislature, police headquarters and finally to the provincial prosecutor’s office.
At each point, he delivered a speech calling for AAL’s release and wore two pairs of sandals around his neck.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the KPAI, called on the Palu court to quickly handle the trial.
“Because it has already reached the indictment stage, we demand that the panel of judges conduct the trial in a marathon, following the defense plea with a prosecutor’s argument and then acquit him of all charges,” Arist said.
Rusdi and a colleague were both detained for assaulting AAL after the alleged theft, which took place in November 2010.