50 000 Muslim hardliners rally against blasphemy in Jakarta

2016-11-04 16:57
Thousands of hard-line Muslims converged Friday on the centre of the Indonesian capital to demand the arrest of its governor for alleged blasphemy (AP).

Thousands of hard-line Muslims converged Friday on the centre of the Indonesian capital to demand the arrest of its governor for alleged blasphemy (AP).

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jakarta - Tens of thousands of Muslim hardliners called for Jakarta's Christian governor to be prosecuted for blasphemy in a massive demonstration in the Indonesian capital on Friday, sparking fears of violence and putting authorities on alert.

A sea of protesters wearing white Islamic robes swarmed the city's largest mosque for Friday prayers before taking to the streets in a huge show of force against governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is accused of insulting Islam.

The protest was triggered by accusations that Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, insulted Islam by criticising opponents who used Koranic references to attack him ahead of an election in February.

Hardliners have called for his death as Friday's turnout - estimated by police at 50 000 - eclipsed a similar protest last month that drew 10 000 chanting demonstrators to city hall.

Police spokesperson Boy Rafli Amar said there were no reports of violence so far.

Police have taken no chances in the lead up, deploying 18 000 officers amid fears that radical elements could infiltrate the march.

"The protest must be orderly, and avoid anarchy and emotion. The rule of law must remain in force," the police communications department tweeted on Friday.

The military warned it was ready to back police if things turned ugly, with helicopters flying low over the city and extra soldiers stationed at key government buildings reinforced with razor wire and armoured vehicles.

Some foreign embassies warned their citizens to steer clear of the demonstration.

President Joko Widodo met this week with religious and political leaders to issue a unified call against violence while police sought to ease tensions by holding prayer sessions and broadcasting calls for peace on social media.

But anger at Purnama, Jakarta's second Christian governor and the first from the country's ethnic Chinese community, has spread beyond the capital, with solidarity marches held across Java and in cities as far as Makassar in Indonesia's east.

The governor stoked fury in September when he told a crowd they'd been "deceived" by his opponents who had used a Koranic verse to try to put them off voting for a Christian.

He later apologised but has faced persistent allegations of blasphemy, prohibited by law in Indonesia.

"Our holy book has been insulted so I felt moved to join. Ahok must be prosecuted," protester Zulfikar, who like many Indonesians goes by just one name, said.

Others displayed signs stating "big no for blasphemy" and "detain and prosecute the blasphemer Ahok".

The governor - known for his tough-talking style - is hugely popular in some quarters for his determination to clean up Jakarta, an overcrowded, disorganised and polluted metropolis.

Read more on:    indonesia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.