Indonesian President and his entourage forced to walk during traffic jam

Indonesian President Widodo walks to event after being stuck in major traffic jam.

Story highlights

  • Before walking, the President was stuck in traffic for 30 minutes
  • "It is all right, although it made me sweat," he says

(CNN)Indonesian President Joko Widodo walked for several kilometers in scorching heat this week after his motorcade got stuck in a major traffic jam.

In an almost unimaginable scenario for most world leaders -- accustomed to traveling on wide open streets secured by police —Widodo and his entourage were forced to walk 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) in Cilegon on Thursday to attend a military event.
    Widodo was scheduled to participate in a parade marking the 72nd anniversary of the country's defense forces in Banten province -- about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Jakarta.
    "I asked how far we still had to go. 'Three kilometers, sir,' the driver answered. Well, I then got off the car. I had better walk," Widodo told reporters, according to the state-run Antara News. It said he opted to walk after waiting for 30 minutes in his car.
    Following the President's cue, several high-level officials, including the defense minister and the chief of staff, took to the pavement.
    Indonesia is notorious for heavily-congested streets, especially in the capital of Jakarta, where short drives can take hours.
    Commuters wait in a traffic jam during afternoon rush hour in Jakarta last month.
    The traffic was too congested even for motorcycles, which are popular in the city.
    "I might have taken a motorcycle if only it could pass, and I would not have become this tired," Widodo told state media.
    Luckily, the President was in good spirits and did not seem to mind the afternoon stroll.
    "It is only 3 kilometers. I am used to walking that far. It is all right, although it made me sweat because I wore a suit," he said.