Indonesia police arrest 10 for allegedly igniting riot amidst massive rally

Hard evidence: Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono (left), National Police spokespeople Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar (center) and Brig. Gen. Agus Rianto show pictures of a violent rally on Friday in Jakarta at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Saturday.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The police are questioning 10 people who allegedly stirred up a riot that took place in the wake of a large-scale rally involving multiple Muslim groups on Friday in Jakarta.

Violence broke out after dusk when some groups of protesters at the rally, which demanded the criminal prosecution of Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy, refused to comply with a police order to disperse.

On Saturday, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said that the 10 alleged provocateurs were from regions outside Jakarta, including West Nusa Tenggara.

"The results of the interrogation will be announced in the next 24 hours," Boy said.

Boy, however, declined to comment on the affiliation of the people under questioning. He also refused to confirm whether or not they are part of the Association of Islamic Students Association (HMI), as was reported by local media earlier.

Around 100,000 people from various Muslim organisations swarmed Jakarta streets on Friday, temporarily paralysing activities downtown.

The rally ran peacefully until Friday evening, when some protesters refused to disperse after the rally. The crowd then moved to the House complex and was caught in a standoff with over 1,000 military and police personnel.

Boy said two police personnel, five military personnel and a fireman were injured as a result of the riot. Three police trucks were burned and 18 police and military vehicles were broken from being attacked by protesters.

Tens of thousands of Muslim hardliners in protest march against Jakarta governor for alleged blasphemy

  • Ahok - the first Christian to go­­vern Jakarta in more than 50 years
  • - will defend allegations that he insulted the Quran and fight calls for his imprisonment under Indo­nesia's tough blasphemy laws.
  • Ahok, known for his outspoken style, outraged Muslims when he controversially quoted a passage from the Islamic holy text while campaigning in elections for the Jakarta governorship.
  • The Jakarta police are set to deploy more than 2,000 personnel to secure the first hearing in the trial of non-active Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama over blasphemy allegations at the North Jakarta District Court
  • Thousands of Muslims worshipers have been gathering at the National Monument (Monas) square in Central Jakarta since Friday morning to join a mass prayer aimed at intensifying pressure on the police to detain Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in a blasphemy case.
  • Indonesian police offered prayers for peace and called for unity ahead of a massive protest by Muslim hardliners against Jakarta's governor that authorities fear could turn violent.
  • Although the event, initiated by the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., some participants said they had arrived as early as 5.30 a.m.
  • Most of them were wearing white.
  • he arriving worshipers first did the wudhu cleansing ritual with water provided at the location, before sitting down on their prayer mats, facing a large stage where the sermon will be given.
  • Hundreds of police personnel, wearing white Muslim caps, are on standby at the event.
  • This event is a follow-up to a large-scale anti-Ahok rally on Nov. 4, when protesters, mostly from Muslim groups, swarmed Jakarta streets to demand Ahok's prosecution.
  • a Christian and the first ethnic Chinese in the job, over claims that he insulted the Quran.
  • As many as 200,000 demonstrators are expected to gather at Monas during the gathering, which has been authorized to run until 1 p.m.
  • Indonesian police quelled a mass protest by tens of thousands of hardline Muslims , firing tear gas and water cannon into crowds
  • Last month, the National Police named Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, a suspect of blasphemy over comments on a Quranic verse the governor had made during a visit to Thousand Islands regency in late September.
  • At one stage during the march, the crowd chanted, "Arrest Ahok now... Kill Ahok now," reported The Straits Times.
  • Police formed human barricades outside key buildings such as ministries, the National Monument and the presidential palace. Armoured vehicles were also on guard to prepare for any violence.
  • A police spokesman said one person died and 12 were hurt.
  • Police said the number of demonstrators in central Jakarta swelled to about 150,000 in the hours after Friday prayers as they congregated around the palace of President Joko Widodo.
  • The crowd grew restive - some threw rocks at the police, two vehicles were torched and a fire broke out near the city's National Monument.
  • Many protesters were clad in robes and Muslim caps as they called for the resignation of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama.
  • Tens of thousands of Muslim hardliners march to the presidential palace to protest against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy.
  • Many of the demonstrators, led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), had performed their Friday (Nov 4) prayers at the Istiqlal mosque, as well as on the streets and pavements outside.
  • Droves of protesters, including women in headscarves, arrived in buses, motorcycles and even on foot from as far as Bali and Kalimantan, choking major roads in the capital city.
  • Men in white Islamic robes chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greater) as they walked towards the mosque, carrying Indonesian flags and waving posters with the words "Arrest or Expel Ahok", referring to the Jakarta governor.
  • Indonesian muslim students carry a mock coffin that reads: "Arrest Ahok".
  • Footage from local TV stations showed demonstrators standing on trucks and shouting through loudspeakers, calling for a peaceful rally.
  • Organisers said 200,000 people, including many from outside Jakarta, will participate in the rally. They will march to the state palace to press for the authorities to charge Mr Basuki, better known as Ahok, for allegedly insulting Islam.
  • Despite the major rally, the governor who is seeking re-election, remains unfazed, saying he will continue to campaign on Friday.
  • Truckloads of soldiers and police took the streets of Jakarta, securing shopping malls and business areas,
  • as residents in the Indonesian capital braced for a large-scale protest planned by hardline Muslim groups.
  • Thousands of protesters, led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), are expected to demand the resignation of the Jakarta governor,
  • Some Muslim groups have accused Purnama of blasphemy after he said his opponents had deceived voters by attacking him using a verse from the Quran.
  • The mood is tense in Jakarta, a sprawling city of around 10 million, with companies asking employees to work from home,
  • access to the main business district restricted and several foreign embassies urging their citizens to stay safe.