Even as Indonesian capital Jakarta is brimming with protesters who have arrived in droves to take part in Friday's Islamist rally against the city's Chinese Christian governor, supporters from far flung regions are facing logistical hassles as well.
It is reported that a bus loaded with protesters collided with a truck on the Cipali toll road in Subang on Thursday morning, killing at least one. Protesters from across the country are travelling to Jakarta to participate in the rally organised by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), against governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok.
According to Jakarta Post, the West Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said one passenger died and 15 other were injured in the road accident. The injured people were rushed to the nearby Ciereng city hospital in Subang and Ciuderes city hospital in Majalengka where they are being treated now. However, according to the reports the unharmed passengers boarded other buses and continued their trip to Jakarta.
The deceased is identified as 47-year-old Sarjono, a resident of Klegen Gatak, Sewon, Bantul, Yogyakarta. The police official also said that the bus was carrying 62 passengers, reportedly members of FPI when the accident took place in western Java.
The news organisation reported that an eyewitness said that the bus was heading to Cikopo from Palimanan at high speed at 3:30 am and the driver, identified as 31-year-old Ahmad Sakir) rammed into a truck, loaded with sand, which reportedly switched lanes suddenly.
The police said that they are investigating the incident and have been questioning several eyewitnesses.
JAKARTA BRACES FOR MASSIVE RALLY
Meanwhile, hundreds of Islamic hard-liners are leaving their hometowns and travelling to Jakarta to take part in the rally. However, country's top Islamic clerical body and its two largest Muslim groups have urged people to boycott the protest and they fear that the rally not only will spur ethnic and religious tensions in the country and jeopardise next year's much-anticipated Jakarta gubernatorial race, in which Ahok is seeking a second term.
The Jakarta Globe reported that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had a meeting with the leaders of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah in the State Palace on Tuesday to discuss the situation after which NU Supreme Council chairman Ahmad Ishomuddin said, "Muslims should avoid the rally and not create troubles. We hope the demonstration will pass peacefully. We certainly don't want any casualty."
The protest started from September when Governor Ahok allegedly misquoted a verse from the Quran during one of his speeches in which he reportedly criticised his opponents for citing a verse in the Quran which warns Muslims against forming an alliance with Christians and Jews saying that they were "lying". This led to an outrage and the governor was accused of criticising the Islamic holy text.
Jakarta police have beefed up the security in and around the city to maintain peace and order as more Muslim groups decide to join anti-Ahok rally on Friday.