02 December 2016 - 13:26
News ID: 425458
Rasa - Some 200,000 Indonesian Muslims have taken to the streets in Jakarta in a second, major protest rally against the governor of the Indonesian capital.
Protesters hold up posters calling for the arrest of Jakarta’s Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, December 2, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

RNA - The Muslims gathered in Jakarta’s National Monument park on Friday, where they prayed in unison and chanted verses from the holy Quran and called for the arrest of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian who is being prosecuted as a suspect in a blasphemy case.


The protesters were holding banners that read “Jail Ahok.”


“Let’s defend our religion,” Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), told the crowd. “Stop all forms of religious blasphemy and put all violators on trial.”


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who is a political ally of the embattled Jakarta governor, unexpectedly arrived at the site of the National Monument and called for protesters to disperse peacefully.


Over 20,000 security forces had been deployed to the city to ensure the demonstration stayed orderly, according to police, who also said they had arrested eight people suspected of “treason.”


Two other people were arrested for alleged crimes under Indonesia’s law on electronic information and transactions.


A previous protest in Jakarta had attracted about 100,000 people, who marched on the presidential palace and called for Purnama’s dismissal, on November 4. Clashes during that protest left one person dead and dozens of others injured. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.


Purnama stirred controversy and mass protests across the country after he dismissed a political attack by his opponents — who had urged Muslims not to vote for him in city governor elections next February — by citing a verse from the holy Quran. His move was perceived as an insult to Islam.


He is being investigated for blasphemy, which is considered a criminal offense in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.


On Wednesday, the Office of the State Prosecutor announced that the police record on the case had met the requirements for Purnama’s blasphemy case to proceed to a trial.


The ethnic Chinese governor could be imprisoned for five years if found guilty.


Send comment
Please type in your comments in English.
The comments that contain insults or libel to individuals, ethnicities, or contradictions with the laws of the country and religious teachings will not be disclosed