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Indonesian police to remove buffalo at street protests

Photo taken on January 28, 2010 shows a man holding a buffalo to symbolise Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as "big, slow and stupid like a buffalo" during a protest against the government
Protesters compared the Indonesian president to a water buffalo.

Indonesian police will enforce a ban on buffalo at street protests after the country's president expressed hurt at being compared to the animal.

Protesters stuck President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's photo on the animal's behind at a protest last week.

They said the country's leader was "big, slow and stupid like a buffalo".

The president said: "That statement is not ethical or moral, and to use a buffalo can violate other regulations, like traffic laws."

Livestock at protests also raised safety fears, a Jakarta police spokesman told the BBC.

"Streets are no place for animal, because they can stray from your hold. And that can cause a disruption to traffic,'' said Kombes Boy Rafly Amar from the Jakarta Police.

Police have told the BBC that livestock will be removed from any political rallies in future.

The protesters, who accused Mr Yudhoyono of failing to fight corruption, had paraded a water buffalo with Mr Yudhoyono's name spray painted on it through Jakarta's main traffic circle.

Enforcing the ban on buffalo at street protests is an "overreaction" and showed Mr Yudhoyono as a weak leader, Desmond Mahesa, a member of the opposition was quoted as saying by AP news agency.

The buffalo is also the symbol of Indonesia's main opposition party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

Mr Yudhoyono was re-elected in July 2009 in a landslide victory on the back of improved security and strong growth in South East Asia's biggest economy.



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