A new rally, organized by the Indonesian Muslim Forum (FUI), will be staged on Tuesday (21/02) in front of Jakarta's national legislative complex on Jalan Gatot Subroto in Senayan (South Jakarta). An estimated 10,000 protesters will urge authorities (in this so-called "212 rally") to suspend Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok). Ahok is currently on trial for blasphemy based on a manipulated video that surfaced on social media last year.
The rally will start at 7:00 am local Jakarta time on Tuesday and should end at 18:00 pm. The series of anti-Ahok rallies or demonstrations that have been staged since October 2016 in the capital city of Indonesia are believed to be politically motivated. Islamic groups do not agree that Ahok, a Christian and ethnic Chinese person, leads a Muslim-majority community. Therefore, the manipulated video that surfaced on social media in October 2016 (in which Ahok is seen insulting Islam) was the perfect excuse for his political enemies to encourage public outrage against the Jakarta governor. However, it is a sad state of affairs that the Indonesian government has recently been eager to combat the spread of fake news on Internet (something that jeopardizes social cohesion and public order) but has not openly defended Ahok.
Jakarta Police said it will be supported by the Indonesian military (TNI) on Tuesday to safeguard public order on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, it is reported in Indonesian media that a faction at the Jakarta Legislative Council, consisting of Ahok's "political enemies" - the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB), and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) - refuse to attend meetings with Ahok nor his officials, until the legal status of Ahok is resolved. In Indonesia, regional leaders who face charges involving less than five years' in jail are not suspended until the sentence becomes legally binding. Only when law enforcers put the leader in custody, then he/she can be suspended.
Earlier, Ahok was allowed to remain in office while the blasphemy court case is ongoing as the maximum prison sentence for blasphemy in Indonesia is four years.
Based on the quick count results, Ahok won the first round of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election on 15 February 2017. However, the results show a narrow margin between Ahok and rival Anies Baswedan. Hence, the second (and final) round (scheduled for 19 April 2017) is set to become a tight one.
Ah.... not again...