Buddhist Religious symbols

Some Buddhists are, eventually, up in arms over a Buddhist themed club in Jakarta, the Buddha Bar.

The Buddha Bar, a French franchise chain restaurant-lounge-pub, ('soft') opened in Jakarta late in 2008 at Jl. Teuku Umar, Menteng, and received some amount of attention, with one international review enthusing that Jakarta had now joined

the likes of London, New York and Dubai in hosting a Buddha Bar.

Jakarta in the last decade had become more cosmopolitan, the warm fuzzy glow of democracy shone, things dug out of the ground in the country had been fetching top dollar, and now with places like the Buddha Bar being opened the burgeoning class of stylish, wealthy, wine class attending people that these good times had produced had another place to parade at.

The review ended on a warning note, saying that in recent times Jakarta had been bombed by terrorists, Muslim militants sometimes smashed up bars that opened during Ramadan, and there had been shortages of wine.

None of these catastrophes has befallen the Buddha Bar in its short existence, but it is beset by another problem - Buddhists.

Several times in the last few days Buddhist student groups have protested outside the premises, demanding that it be closed down, or that it change its name to something less offensive. On 5th March 100 members of the Aliansi Mahasiswa Buddhis "sealed" the entrance to the Bar with police crime scene tape, and carried banners like:

Stop insulting Buddhism! The Buddha Bar disturbs harmony among religious groups!

Protest leader Eko Nugroho said

This is to show people that Buddhists will not [stand to] be insulted.

The management of the Buddha Bar, and its owners, who are Renny Sutiyoso (daughter of ex-Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso) and Puan Maharani (daughter of Megawati Soekarnoputri), seem to be keeping a low profile.

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