Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to call for unity amid massive uproar against the city’s governor.
According to Rapportuer Report From , Press TV , Link , Demonstrators in the Sunday rally called for national unity and tolerance following mass protests against Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama of Jakarta, who is being prosecuted for blasphemy.
The governor, a Christian and an ally of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, angered people in the world’s most populous Muslim country when he cited a verse from the holy Quran to fend off a political argument by his opponents. His move was perceived as an insult to the Islamic faith.
At the Sunday rally, demonstrators carried a giant red-and-white flag of the nation and waved placards reading, “We Are Indonesia.”
Political party leaders under the pro-government alliance delivered short speeches on the importance of national unity.
“We have to struggle to materialize the aims of our independence. That will not happen if we are scattered,” Surya Paloh, the chairman of the National Democratic Party, said at the rally.
Two mass protests were organized against Purnama in the recent past. The first demonstration, on November 4, attracted at least 100,000 people and turned partially violent, leading to the death of one person. Dozens of protesters and police were also injured.
The second demonstration was held on December 2, and drew at least 200,000 people.
President Jokowi himself showed up at the second rally and called on protesters to leave peacefully.
Ahok’s opponents want him arrested and tried for blasphemy. Police is conducting an investigation.
If Ahok is found guilty, he could face up to five years in jail.