In­done­sians rally for peace be­fore mass Mus­lim protest

The Myanmar Times - - World -

of In­done­sians ral­lied across the coun­try yes­ter­day, pray­ing, sing­ing and call­ing for peace ahead of a ma­jor protest this week by Mus­lims against Jakarta’s Chris­tian gover­nor.

To­mor­row’s rally in Jakarta is ex­pected to at­tract about 150,000 peo­ple who have been an­gered by al­le­ga­tions that Ba­suki Tja­haja Pur­nama in­sulted Is­lam, a crim­i­nal of­fence in the Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­try.

That would make it even big­ger than a protest ear­lier this month that was marred by deadly vi­o­lence.

Tens of thousands of peo­ple ral­lied on Novem­ber 4 in the largest protest the cap­i­tal has seen for years.

It turned vi­o­lent as night fell, with hard­lin­ers set­ting fire to po­lice cars and bat­tling with se­cu­rity forces, who re­sponded with wa­ter can­nons and tear gas. One per­son was killed and hun­dreds in­jured.

Yes­ter­day, the mil­i­tary and po­lice or­gan­ised “Archipelago Unity” gath­er­ings across the coun­try to call for peace and re­duce ten­sions be­fore to­mor­row’s protest, with thousands pack­ing out a park around a ma­jor mon­u­ment in Jakarta.

“The aim of this event is to unite us. There have re­cently been ten­sions among us, let’s min­imise that and come to­gether again,” said event or­gan­iser Zam­roni, who like many In­done­sians go by one name.

Muhamad Amirudin, 30, said the event was a show of unity, adding: “We hope Friday’s event will be equally peace­ful.”

The crowds con­sisted of mil­i­tary and po­lice per­son­nel, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and some mem­bers of the pub­lic, who lis­tened to speeches and mu­si­cal per­for­mances.

About 22,000 of­fi­cials, mostly po­lice and sol­diers, will be de­ployed at to­mor­row’s protest which will be held in a park in down­town Jakarta.

Po­lice spokesper­son Boy Rafli Amar de­tailed the num­ber of se­cu­rity forces to be de­ployed and urged pro-

testers not to bring any weapons.

“It’s for­bid­den to bring sharp weapons, like sharp­ened bam­boo,” he told reporters, adding that at the ear­lier protest some peo­ple had used bam­boo flag­poles to at­tack of­fi­cers.

Po­lice named Mr Pur­nama a sus­pect in a blas­phemy in­ves­ti­ga­tion ear­lier this month fol­low­ing the protest, as calls mounted from Mus­lim groups for him to be pros­e­cuted for al­legedly in­sult­ing the Ko­ran while cam­paign­ing for gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions.

Af­ter study­ing the ev­i­dence handed to them by po­lice, pros­e­cu­tors said yes­ter­day that Mr Pur­nama, known by his nick­name Ahok, would face court, as had been ex­pected.

The gover­nor, a mem­ber of In­done­sia’s eth­nic Chi­nese mi­nor­ity, could be jailed for up to five years if found guilty. –

Photo: AFP

Jakarta Gover­nor Ba­suki ‘Ahok’Tja­haja Pur­nama (C) is es­corted by of­fi­cers as he ar­rives at Na­tional Po­lice Head­quar­ters in Jakarta yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.