Web Stories Thursday, February 22

However, things were not always harmonious there, with those of Chinese ethnicity the target of violence, including during the May 1998 riots which saw the death of an estimated 1,000 people and remains a taboo topic in the country.

“I personally experienced three conflicts in Solo, prior to the era of Mr Jokowi as a mayor and Mr (F X Hadi Rudyatmo) as vice-mayor. Historians always say that Solo is a political barometer, and it has a short fuse,” said Mr Sumartono Hadinoto, vice-chair of the Surakarta Community Association.

Solo is the birthplace of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, who started his political career there as a mayor from 2005 to 2012. His son Gibran Rakabuming Raka is the current mayor of the city, and is the vice presidential candidate of frontrunner Mr Prabowo.

Indonesians hope that such unity lasts, no matter who becomes the next president.

“My wish is for all religious communities in Solo and even throughout Indonesia, to live in harmony, be at peace with each other, be good friends with each other, and celebrate each other’s festivities” said one Solo resident Miftahul. 

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