In­done­sia po­lice, Mus­lim lead­ers aim­ing for ‘su­per peace­ful’ rally

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­done­sia’s po­lice chief said that a rally to be held by Mus­lim groups on Fri­day call­ing for the ouster of Jakarta’s Chris­tian gov­er­nor would be “su­per peace­ful” and con­fined to a park to help pre­vent a re­peat of protest vi­o­lence ear­lier this month. More than 100,000 Mus­lims, led by hard­lin­ers, took to the streets on Nov 4 to protest against Ba­suki Tja­haja Pur­nama, who is ac­cused of in­sult­ing the Qu­ran. One per­son was killed and more than 100 were wounded when the protest, the big­gest in the city in re­cent years, briefly turned vi­o­lent, and po­lice fired tear gas and water can­non.

In­done­sia has the world’s largest Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion and is home to Chris­tian and Hindu com­mu­ni­ties. Na­tional Po­lice Chief Tito Kar­na­vian said author­i­ties had agreed with or­ga­niz­ers that the rally would be held in a park in cen­tral Jakarta, rather than on streets run­ning through traf­fic-clogged cen­tral Jakarta. “We will pre­pare ev­ery­thing, so we hope ev­ery­thing will be or­derly and su­per peace­ful,” Kar­na­vian told a news con­fer­ence. In a sign of greater co­or­di­na­tion be­tween author­i­ties and protest or­gan­is­ers, Mus­lim lead­ers also at­tended the news con­fer­ence.

Habib Rizieq, the head of the Is­lamic De­fend­ers Front (FPI), a hard­line group back­ing the re­cent ral­lies, said it wanted the gov­er­nor to be ar­rested im­me­di­ately but pledged the de­mon­stra­tion would be peace­ful. Kar­na­vian said he hoped that other groups, such as trades unions, would de­lay protests planned for the same day and that no third party would try to dis­rupt the de­mon­stra­tion. Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo has blamed “po­lit­i­cal ac­tors” for fan­ning vi­o­lence with­out nam­ing any­one and the po­lice chief has also said some demon­stra­tors may try to use the ral­lies to storm par­lia­ment.

The trig­ger for the re­cent re­li­gious ten­sions was a com­ment that Jakarta gov­er­nor Pur­nama, the first Chris­tian and eth­nic Chi­nese in the job, made about his op­po­nents’ use of the Ko­ran in po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing. Po­lice have named Pur­nama a sus­pect in the blas­phemy probe. He faces up to five years in prison if found guilty. Po­lice have con­cluded their in­ves­ti­ga­tion and given the dossier to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice, which will de­cide whether to pro­ceed. Pur­nama, pop­u­larly known as Ahok, is run­ning for re-elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary against two Mus­lim can­di­dates. He de­nies any wrong­do­ing but has apol­o­gized for his com­ments. — Reuters

JAKARTA: In­done­sian Mus­lims hold a rally out­side of Myan­mar em­bassy against ‘eth­nic cleans­ing’ in My­na­mar of Ro­hingya Mus­lims, in Jakarta. — AFP

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