Perhaps up to 150,000 protesters will gather in Central Jakarta today to demand the arrest of Jakarta Governor Basuki Cahaya Purnama (Ahok). Most of the demonstrators are members of hard-line Islamic groups who use the spread of a manipulated video (on social media) as an excuse to try to topple Christian, ethnic Chinese Governor Ahok. In this manipulated video Ahok is shown insulting the teachings of the Quran. Despite the case going to trial at the North Jakarta District Court, it is the second mass anti-Ahok rally in Jakarta.
Today's demonstration, called "Aksi Damai 2 Desember" (in English: Peaceful Action of 2 December), is centered around the National Monument in Central Jakarta. We advise people to avoid this area as there are serious chances of violence. The first demonstration (held on Friday 4 November 2016) also ended in chaos and clashes between police and a portion of the protesters.
This gathering is spearheaded by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI). They demand the immediate arrest of Ahok.
Below we provide updates about today's developments in Jakarta. This page will be updated frequently during the next 24 hours. For a detailed overview of Ahok's blasphemy case (and related stories) visit these pages:
• Safety Alert Indonesia: Stay Clear of Friday's Rally in Jakarta
• Jakarta Governor Ahok Named Suspect in Blasphemy Investigation
• Markets Confused: Ethnic & Religious Tensions Flare Up in Indonesia
• News Update & Live Coverage 1st Anti-Ahok Demonstration in Jakarta
Updates from Jakarta (new stories are added at the bottom):
09:30 am, thousands of protesters, mostly wearing white clothes, have already gathered at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta and nearby surroundings (for example the roundabout in front of the central bank (Bank Indonesia). The protesters are sitting down or standing, peacefully. Authorities and protesters agreed that the demonstration should have the form of a "praying together" (not a street demonstration). After 01:00 pm the demonstrators have to leave the area.
10:00 am, investors remain calm. Indonesia's benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index) is slightly in the green zone (in line with other Asian stock indices that are rather flat on Friday morning following Wall Street's decline overnight), while the Indonesian rupiah is appreciating against the US dollar (Bloomberg Dollar Index).
11:00 am, in a televised press conference Jakarta Police announced they have arrested 10 people, including several high-profile artists and activists, early this morning for allegedly planning to attack the legitimate government or for allegedly defaming national leaders. They are being interrogated. It involves Ahmad Dhani, Eko, Adityawarman, Kivlan Zein, Firza Huzein, Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, Ratna Sarumpaet, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Jamran, and Rizal Kobar. It is assumed these people were planning to stage a protest at the Parliamentary Complex.
11:45 am, the protest (or "prayer together") still continues peacefully although an incident was reported when a group of protestors started to behave aggressively toward television crews and vehicles of news agencies Kompas TV and Metro TV. Police had to intervene to protect the crews. These protesters are angry at the news stations for spreading one-sided (pro-Ahok) reports.
13:00 pm, after the "praying together" had finished just before 13:00 pm, Indonesian President Joko Widodo addressed the crowd at Monas. He thanked the people for the peaceful prayer and wished the people a safe journey back home (at 13:00 pm the mass has to leave the area). After his speech the crowd immediately started to shout "arrest Ahok, arrest Ahok". We will now have to wait to see whether the crowd will indeed leave the area.
13:20 pm, part of protesters indeed leave the area in and around Monas. However, authorities need to remain on guard. At the rally on 4 November clashes started about 45 minutes after the demonstration was supposed to finish.
15:15 pm, the area around Monas in Central Jakarta has gradually become rather empty as most protesters have left. Today's demonstration (or "praying together") seems to have finished peacefully. Therefore, we conclude this coverage.
Last update: 15:27 pm local Jakarta time (Friday 02/12)