Following a protest from a Muslim group, the South Sulawesi Police have banned a Bugis sports and cultural event involving waria (transgendered people) and bissu (a gender-neutral identity in Bugis tradition) that was slated to be held in Soppeng regency from Jan. 19 to 22.
About 600 waria and bissu had gathered, complete with makeup and costumes, in Gasis Soppeng field on Thursday afternoon, but the Soppeng Police forced them to cancel their planned parade, apparently because a group called the Islam Congregation Forum objected to the event, claiming it was not in line with its religious values.
Askar Mampo, aka Ria Akkari, a parade committee member, said on Friday that the police held the 600 in a 120-square-meter hall.
“We are not allowed to hold the carnival because they said we did not get the permit,” she said.
She said the notification for the carnival had been sent to the police on Jan. 4. The committee had asked for approval from the Soppeng regent and the Soppeng Council and both had given it, said Askar.
However, two days before the event, the committee was summoned by the police in Makassar, who asked for several additional documents including a recommendation from the Religious Affairs Ministry. Askar said they could not get all the documents in time.
Hundreds of Soppeng residents had also been prepared to watch the event in the streets before it was canceled.
Soppeng Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dodied Prasetyo Aji insisted the committee did not have a proper permit.