A protest led by conservative Muslim groups in Jakarta, Indonesia, have called for the cancellation of British band Coldplay’s scheduled concert, citing the band’s vocal support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The demonstration, which saw nearly 100 participants, took place after Friday prayers and was orchestrated by the Islamist group 212 Brotherhood Alumni.
Coldplay, known for integrating social and environmental values into their performances, is set to perform on November 15 at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium. Tickets for the event sold out rapidly, highlighting the band’s popularity in the region. Jakarta is notably one of Coldplay’s largest streaming hubs, boasting 1.6 million fans.
The protest centred around concerns that Coldplay’s advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and lead singer Chris Martin’s practice of wearing rainbow colours and displaying gay pride flags on stage might impact Indonesia’s moral values and influence the youth negatively.
The 212 Brotherhood Alumni, named after their significant role in the 2016 protests against Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, marched towards the British Embassy in Jakarta, chanting religious slogans and expressing their opposition to the concert. Protest coordinator Novel Bamukmin criticised the government for allowing the concert in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, and threatened to confront the band upon their arrival.
Martin, known for his broad spiritual beliefs, identifies as an “Alltheist,” a term indicating a non-specific religious orientation. Despite the protests, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno assured Coldplay fans of no disruptions, emphasising the concert’s potential economic benefits post-pandemic.
The Indonesian Ulema Council, a significant Islamic body in the country, has requested show promoters PK Entertainment to avoid LGBTQ-themed acts or messages during the concert. PK Entertainment, which is responsible for bringing several international artists to Indonesia, has not commented on the situation.
While Indonesia has a history of religious tolerance, a growing voice of extremism has been noted in recent years. This is not the first time international artists have faced opposition in Indonesia; Lady Gaga cancelled her 2012 show over security concerns, and British band The 1975 also faced challenges in the region.