Barack Obama statue removed from Jakarta park

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 00:17

Jakarta: Authorities removed a statue of Barack Obama from a park in the Indonesian capital due to a public backlash and moved it on Monday to a nearby elementary school that the US president attended as a child.
The bronze statue, inspired by a childhood photograph of a 10-year-old Obama in shorts with a butterfly perched on an outstretched thumb, had been targeted by critics since it was erected in the Jakarta park last December.

Detractors argued that an Indonesian hero should have been honoured instead, noting that Obama still could pursue policies that hurt Indonesia`s interests.

Obama, whose American mother married an Indonesian after divorcing his Kenyan father, went to school in the capital from 1967 to 1971 and is regarded fondly by most Indonesians.

Edi Kusyanto, a teacher at the affluent government school Obama attended, said the 43-inch (110-centimetre) statue would be standing in the school grounds by the time the president visits Jakarta from March 20-22.

"There is no controversy about the statue being here. Everyone at the school welcomes it," Kusyanto said.

The statue was erected with private funds raised by the Jakarta-based nonprofit group Friends of Obama Foundation, but Jakarta Gov Fauzi Bowo is paying for its relocation.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 00:17

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