Jakarta police says anti-Ahok protesters can't take main roads on Dec 2; threatens prosecution

Police said that those who will be defying the orders will be strictly prosecuted.

Anti-Ahok rally
Muslim hardline protesters clash with anti-riot policemen in Jakarta Reuters

Jakarta police is likely to ban the city's main roads for the 2 December rally organised by Muslims hardliners to protest against alleged profanities committed by the city's Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Police said that those who defy the orders will be prosecuted and any act of violence will be filed under articles 212 to 218 of the Criminal Code.

It was reported that the National Police will soon make an announcement to prohibit participants of the rally from using Jakarta's thoroughfares, said an official. Though conducting a demonstration is the constitutional right, the National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said the authorities are afraid that it will throw law and order into disarray.

"If protesters block roads in carrying out their rally, it will disturb people's activities. It will also cause traffic gridlock," said Tito, while responding to GNPF-MUI spokesman's statement, according to The Jakarta Post.

Gerakan Nasional Pengawal Fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia (GNPF-MUI) spokesman Habib Rizieq said the protesters , taking part in the upcoming rally, will be carrying out Friday prayers across Jakarta's two main roads, namely Jl. MH Thamrin and Jl. Sudirman.

This prompted the police to urge people to stay home and abstain themselves from joining the rally. On 20 November, Jakarta police Chief Mochamad Iriawan urged people to not join the 2 December rally as Ahok has already been named suspect in the case and request them to let the law take its own course.

"Residents should not join the rally on Nov. 25 or on Dec. 2 since police have already named Ahok a suspect in the case," said Iriawan, as reported by kompas.com.

This is the second protest march organised by the Muslim conservatives, since the 4 November demonstration, to demand the arrest and resignation of Chinese Christian governor.

The Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (KSPI) chairman Said Iqbal said around 500,000 workers in Greater Jakarta areas will join the rally and it will be a peaceful one. However, the previous 4 November rally accelerated into a bloody demonstration where gangs of jihadists torched police cars and attacked officers. Police had to fire tear gas, water cannon and truncheons into thousands of rioting protesters to bring the situation under control. It was also reported that the angry mobs tried to enter the governor's housing complex in northern Jakarta but the police foiled the move.

Governor Ahok received flak for allegedly misquoting a verse from the Quran during one of his speeches in September. During the speech, Ahok 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.

However, he has apologised for his mistakes by saying that he never intended to insult Islam and the Quran.

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