Obama Statue Removed from Jakarta Park


A statue depicting US President Barack Obama as a boy was removed this week from a park in the capital.

The two-metre bronze was removed from Menteng Park on Sunday and taken to nearby Menteng One primary school, which Obama attended in the late 1960s, vice-principal Akhmad Solikhin said.

“Workers hired by the school, local government and alumni spent an hour removing the statue with electric equipment,” he added.

“We’ll need another two to three days to place the statue at the compound near the school gate so the public can see it when they pass by,” Solikhin added.

The decision to move the statue comes after more than 57,000 people joined a page on social networking website Facebook calling for the statue to be removed and replaced by a memorial to an Indonesian identity.

“There were people who opposed it. For us, we’d like the statue to be in the school to inspire the children to have big dreams like Obama,” Solikhin said.

The statue of “Little Barry” – as Obama was known to his Indonesian school friends – was designed by Indonesian artists and depicts the boy Obama dressed in shorts and a T-shirt with a butterfly perched on his hand.

Obama, who was born in Hawaii, lived for four years as a child in Jakarta from 1967 after his divorced mother married an Indonesian.

The White House announced in early February that Obama and his family will visit Indonesia in March.

The trip has been eagerly awaited in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country since Obama’s inauguration, which has been welcomed in Indonesia as the start of a new era in US diplomacy.

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