President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said Tuesday he would not shield Jakarta’s governor from a police probe into alleged blasphemy, which led to a massive protest in the Indonesian capital that ended in violence last week.
Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian and member of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese minority who served as Jokowi’s deputy when Jokowi was governor of the capital, was interrogated by police for nine hours on Monday over alleged anti-Muslim comments made in September. Under Indonesia’s laws, people can be prosecuted for blasphemous speech.
“I emphasize here – and [want] all people to know- that I will not protect Basuki Tjahaja Purnama because [his case] is being legally processed,” Jokowi told a news conference in Jakarta following a meeting with leaders of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization.
Monday’s interrogation of Ahok was the second time since Oct. 24 that he was questioned over the allegations of blasphemy, but the latest interrogation came three days after some 100,000 Muslim protestors marched in central Jakarta on Friday as they called for the governor to be prosecuted for speech perceived as offensive to Islam.
The rally was largely peaceful but it ended in violence as angry people attacked police barricades, started fires and looted stores in central Jakarta, while police and security personnel fired tear gas and water cannons to control the crowd.
In the mayhem one person was killed and more than 100 were injured, including 79 police and military personnel, national police said Monday.
An elderly man who had asthma died during the protest, Jakarta police spokesman Setiyono Awi said.
“Eleven policemen are still hospitalized,” he said.
As of Tuesday, authorities had arrested at least five members of the Muslim Students’ Association – including the group’s secretary general – on suspicion of assaulting police officers during Friday night’s riot, Setiyono said.
Full story: BenarNews
Arie Firdaus and Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata
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