Thousands to take to street in Jakarta

People in Jakarta are expecting for a big demonstration to be carried out by Islamic organizations in the capital city on Friday.

They will take to the street in protest against the statement made recently by Jakarta governor Basuki Purnama in a meeting with people in the district of Pulau Seribu, North Jakarta.

In his speech before the people in Pulau Seribu, Purnama, who is also called Ahok, said that they must not be deceived by people using the verse not to elect a non-Muslim leader in the forthcoming election.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has accused Ahok of committing blasphemy for making the statement.

MUI chairman Maruf Amin said in a statement that Ahok has insulted the Quran and the ulemas, and that police should investigate the case.

Ahok has apologized for the statement, saying “I want to apologize to Muslims, but I never intended to insult Islam or the Quran.”

Despite the apology, thousands of people have taken to the street in protest against Ahok and plan to conduct an even bigger one on Friday.

Indonesia plans to hold elections in 101 regions simultaneously in February next next year.

People will elect new governors in seven provinces including Jakarta, 86 district heads and 19 city mayors in the elections scheduled on February 15, 2017.

Many quarters have expressed the wish that the demonstration would run smoothly and peacefully.

Police said around 100,000 people are expected to take part in the rally.

They also said they have prepared 18,000 joint security forces to assure the rally to remain peaceful.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has ordered the security forces to stay alert and work professionally with regard to the planned rally on November 4, 2016.

He said on Monday (Oct 31) said that demonstration is a democratic right of citizens.

He said the government would guarantee the right to free speech but it would also give priority to public order and security.

“I have ordered the security forces to stay alert and perform their duties in a professional manner to overcome any anarchy perpetrated by any one,” he said After attending the commemoration of World Saving Day 2016, at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Earlier on Sunday, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian urged the people not to be easily provoked with regard to the Islamic mass organizations planned demonstration.

Karnavian explained that the rally could be exploited by certain elements for political purposes ahead of the Jakarta gubernatorial election next February.

“Do not be easily provoked or involve in violence. Please do not be anarchic,” he said, expressing hope that the demonstrators would carry out the rally peacefully.

President Joko Widodo met with opposition party leader Prabowo Subianto at the latters private residence in Bojongkoneng, Hambalang, Bogor, West Java, on Monday (Oct 31) just days before the planned rally.

During the meeting Prabowo expressed his commitment to help the President with inputs and views for the sake of the Unitary State of Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo had also met with the leaders of several Muslim organizations at the Merdeka Palace on Tuesday (Nov 1) to assure that the case would be properly and legally processed and that he would not intervene in it.

President Joko Widodo has been considered very close to Ahok who was deputy governor when he was governor of Jakarta before becoming a president.

The prominent figures attending the meeting included Maruf Amin, Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and leaders of the countrys biggest Islamic organizations – Said Agil Siradj, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) chairman and Haidar Nashir, Muhammadiyah chairman.

Also present at the meeting were Religious Affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto.

House Speaker Ade Komarudin appealed to the police not to be provoked when dealing with a destructive action during the demonstration.

“As a DPR speaker I sincerely hoped security apparatus would really be cautious and alert and conduct persuasive methods to deal any incident. They must not be provoked by destructive actions that may be done demonstrators,” he said on Wednesday (Nov 3).

He said demonstration is part of a democratic system as a means of conveying aspirations that may not be hindered by anyone.

The politician from one of the biggest political parties, Golkar Party, Ade said no one must not be allowed to harm the democratic system by anarchism.

He said democracy has run well in Indonesia and so it must not be damaged by anarchism.

He appealed to all political elites to exercise restraint and act within the legal corridor and based on state ideology Pancasila.

He said he would be the one to be in the front line against any party wishing to topple the legitimate government.

“This government was born out of a legitimate democratic system (and) directly elected by the people,” he said.

Any effort to topple the legitimate government would hurt the people and the country’s economy, he said.

The police are still investigating the alleged blasphemy case and have questioned some witnesses.

Source: Antara News.