Jakarta Anti-casino protesters surround Governorís residence
By Paul
Crowds opposing the plan to build casinos in the Seribu Islands, off the North coast of Jakarta, converged in front of the official residence of City Governor Sutiyoso in Central Jakarta on Saturday.

According to the Jakarta Post, Sutiyoso has previously said that he would wait for the provincial legislative councilís recommendation on the matter.

Sutiyoso raided gambling dens in his previous capacity as Jakartaís military commander, but now he argues that, since gambling cannot be eradicated, ď'it is better to have legal, monitored casinos' such as Genting Highlands gambling center in Malaysia. Gambling is illegal in Indonesia without specific authorization.

Abdul Kadir, chief administrator of the Seribu (Thousand) Islands, announced the plan for casino development this week.

If given the green light, it is expected to contribute 1.5 trillion rupiah (US$156 million) annually to the capital's revenues.

The casino proposal has also come under fire from Indonesia's highest Islamic authority, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as well as Muslim-based political parties the Justice Party (PK), the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the PPP Reformasi.

Slamet Riyadi, village chief of Untung Island, said local opinion was divided on the governor's plan.

'Some oppose the plan, while others welcome it,' Slamet said.

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