Obama statue removed from Jakarta park following protests

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Jakarta (Indonesia), Feb.16 (ANI): Indonesian authorities removed a statue of US President Barack Obama from a park here following a public backlash against its instalment.

The bronze statue, inspired by a childhood photograph of a 10-year-old Barack Obama in shorts with a butterfly perched on an outstretched thumb, was moved on Monday to the nearby school the US president attended as a child.

According to The Telegraph, critics have targeted it since last December, arguing that an Indonesian hero should have been honoured instead.

Obama, whose American mother married an Indonesian after divorcing his Kenyan father, went to school in the capital from 1967 to 1971 and is regarded fondly by most Indonesians.

Edi Kusyanto, a teacher at the affluent government-run school Mr Obama attended, said the 43-inch-tall statue would be standing in the school grounds by the time the president visits Jakarta on March 20-22.

"There is no controversy about the statue being here. Everyone at the school welcomes it," she said.

The statue was erected with private funds raised by the Jakarta-based non-profit group Friends of Obama Foundation.

Ron Mullers, an American living in Jakarta who came up with the idea for the statue and raised money for it, declined to say whether he thought moving it was an over-reaction.

Heru Nugroho, who led a Facebook campaign to remove the statue, welcomed the move but added that the decision had taken too long.

He said he would now drop court action seeking the statue's removal. (ANI)

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