5 members of group organizing Jakarta protests arrested

Indonesian police say leader of Muslim People Forum among those being questioned on suspicion of treason

5 members of group organizing Jakarta protests arrested

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indonesian police arrested on Friday the leader of an umbrella group that has been organizing mass protests against the Jakarta governor who they accuse of blasphemy.

The Muslim People Forum (FUI) and affiliated groups have been holding rallies against Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, over remarks he made about a Quran verse last year in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, has apologized for his original comment and maintained that he was calling for people not to be “deceived” by those using the chapter. He remains on trial, a process that could last until May, and faces up to five years in prison if found guilty.

On Friday, Jakarta police spokesman Comm. Argo Yuwono told Anadolu Agency that FUI’s secretary general, Muhammad Al-Khaththath, and four other members were being questioned at National Police Headquarters on suspicion of conspiring to overthrow the government.

"They were arrested on suspicion of cooperation for treason," said Yuwono.

Police reportedly seized some evidence, including mobile phones and documents, during the arrest.

Meanwhile, thousands of people from across Java island gathered in the capital again to urge the government to dismiss Purnama, an ally of President Joko Widodo.

Police estimated the figure of protesters at around 2,500, but organizers claimed their number was much higher.

The Presidential Palace has agreed to receive 15 representatives of the protesters to hear their demands.

Last month, Purnama failed to secure the 50-percent threshold in the Feb. 15 gubernatorial election and a runoff is scheduled to be held April 19.

Last Mod: 31 Mart 2017, 12:17
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