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Churchgoers perform service amid rally in Cikarang

Jakarta Post - March 26, 2017

Devina Heriyanto, Cikarang, Bekasi Dozens of protesters gathered in front of HKBP Karang Bahagia Church since Sunday morning did not dampen the spirit of worshipers attending their weekly service.

The protesters oppose the presence of the church in that location, arguing that it has no legal grounds. "We are not seeking to limit religious freedom. We only oppose the presence of illegal places of worship," said rally leader Idam Kholid.

The protesters were being monitored by several officers from Sukaraya village and policemen.

HKBP Karang Bahagia Church opened on Oct. 16, 2016, after collecting 149 signatures from its neighbors to obtain a permit to hold services in a house the church bought from a local resident. There have been meetings between the protesters and members of the church.

HKBP Karang Bahagia Church spokesman Jonri Sitio told The Jakarta Post that representatives of the church had previously agreed to temporarily stop holding services following a meeting between the church representatives and protesters. However, since the agreement took place "under duress," the congregation has decided to perform the service anyway.

HKBP Karang Bahagia church leader Edward Pandjaitan said worship at the church would continue. "Freedom of religion is not limited in this country. We surrender to God, but worship will continue," he said.

Aside from HKBP Karang Bahagia church, Jl. Ki Hadjar Dewantara is also home to two other churches and one Buddhist temple. (dmr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/26/churchgoers-perform-service-amid-rally-in-cikarang.html.

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