JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - They say you need a thick hide for public office but Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has said he was hurt when his photo was affixed to a buffalo’s bottom at a recent rally.
A highly politicized parliamentary inquiry into the 2008 bail out of a small bank has sparked several small and mostly peaceful protests in Indonesia.
One protest featured a buffalo with anti-government graffiti and a picture of the president stuck to its behind.
Yudhoyono, who is often referred to as SBY after his initials, was quoted in the English language newspaper Jakarta Post on Wednesday saying the buffalo stunt was offensive.
“Then there was a group of protesters leading a buffalo. They said ‘SBY is lazy, big and stupid, like a buffalo.’ Was that really a demonstration?” the president was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post, adding that he would discuss protest etiquette with several district governors and ministers.
“We will discuss how people can conduct peaceful protests and respect others,” he said.
Youth minister and former presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said on Thursday that protesters should show the president more respect.
“If you want to talk about policy then we can disagree but we can always respect each other,” he told Reuters by phone.
The Jakarta Post reported on Thursday that police would not allow protesters to bring livestock to rallies in future but Mallarangeng said buffaloes would not be banned.
The buffalo is also the symbol of Indonesia’s main opposition party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Editing by Sunanda Creagh and David Fox