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Indonesia to move Jakarta's Barack Obama statue

Obama statue, Jakarta, Indonesia 10 Dec 09
The statue shows the young Barack Obama holding a butterfly

A statue of US President Barack Obama will be removed from a park in Indonesia's capital Jakarta because of public opposition, officials say.

They say the bronze statue of Mr Obama as a 10-year-old boy will be moved from the Menteng Park to the school he attended while living in the city.

The move comes after more than 56,000 people joined a campaign on Facebook calling for the statue to be removed.

They argue that - although popular - Mr Obama is not Indonesia's national hero.

'No contribution'

"The Jakarta administration has decided to remove the Obama statue from Menteng Park and take it to his former school," city spokesman Cucu Ahmad Kurnia told AFP news agency.

"We follow the aspirations of the people, who think that the removal of the statue to his former school is more appropriate," he added.

City officials said they wanted to move the two-metre (7ft) statue before Mr Obama's planned visit to Indonesia in March.

Heru Nugroho, initiator of the Facebook campaign to remove the statue from the park, welcomed the decision.

"It's good - a little too late. But I appreciate it," Mr Nugroho was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

He added that statues in Indonesia should be reserved for those who have made significant contributions to the country.

"Obama is a very good man, he's a good dreamer. But he has no contribution for Indonesia," Mr Nugroho said.

Mr Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather.

He went to school in Jakarta and is a local hero of sorts to young Indonesians, the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Indonesia says.

The statue - depicting Mr Obama as a boy in shorts and a T-shirt with a butterfly perched on his hand - was erected in the park last December.



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10 Dec 09 |  Asia-Pacific

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