THE streets of the Indonesian capital on Friday were flooded with tens of thousands of hardline Muslim protesters demanding the arrest of its minority-Christian governor who they allege has committed blasphemy.
Security forces, including the police and the military, beefed up operations days ahead of the protests in Jakarta to prevent violence, while shops and embassies closed throughout the day with the city’s usually-congested roads almost devoid of vehicles.
According to the Associated Press, the predominantly male demonstrators – most of whom wearing white shirts and skull caps – amassed at the Istiqlal Mosque for the protest following weekly Friday prayers and marched to the nearby presidential palace.
…The accusation of blasphemy (is) against Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese and minority Christian who is an ally of the country’s president…
…A vigilante group pushing for the implementation of Shariah law, called the Islamic Defenders Front, demanded Ahok’s arrest after he reportedly joked to an audience about a passage in the Quran that could be interpreted as prohibiting Muslims from accepting non-Muslims as leaders.