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Coins for Tony Abbott
ANN |
24 February, 2015
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An Indonesian volunteer collects small change for a donation as part of a public campaign in Malang city on February 23, 2015 to repay the one billion USD aid of Australia to the tsunami hit province of Aceh in 2004 as a protest to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's remarks on tsunami donations from the Australian government in 2004. (AFP)

A number of activists from the Pro-Indonesia Coalition held an unusual fund-raising event by collecting coins for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott from the public at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Monday.

Many pedestrians and motorists gave coins to show their support for the action.

A pedestrian, Novian, took many coins from his pocket and also asked his wife to take coins from her wallet.

“Humanitarian relief should not be deemed the same as crime. Australia should not donate if it is not sincere in doing so,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.

Another resident, Adrian, also gave coins to support the move.

He said it was unethical for Australia to link its humanitarian relief for victims of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh with its efforts to save two Australians facing execution soon on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java.

“It is very unethical. Firstly, it [Australia] threatens to boycott Bali and now, it raises the humanitarian relief matter. Very low,” he said.

Pro-Indonesia Coalition coordinator Andi Sinulingga said that the move was made in response to Abbott’s recent statement asking Indonesia to cancel the two Australians’ execution because Australia provided humanitarian relief to Indonesia during and after the tsunami and earthquake which devastated Aceh in 2004.

“This is aimed to show Australian people that not only does Indonesia need Australia but adversely, Australia also needs us. Many Indonesian people are facing death sentences overseas, but Indonesia has never used threats to save them,” he said.

A large number of students also conducted a similar move in Aceh to donate to Abbott through the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. They said they were uneasy about Abbott, adding that Australia had dispatched its humanitarian relief and helped to reconstruct Aceh for its own interests.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and attorney general Prasetyo stressed recently in Jakarta that the execution of 11 drug and murder convicts, including the two Australians, was not suspended because of political pressure from Australia but because of technical problems in relation to isolation rooms for the death-row convicts at a prison on Nusakambangan.

Prasetyo said the executions would be conducted in March.

The two Australians, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, who were leaders of the so-called Bali Nine, are set to be moved from Kerobokan Prison to Nusakambangan to face the firing squad next month.

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