Protesters gathering at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta on Friday (04/11). (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)

Anti-Ahok Rally Starts at Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

NOVEMBER 04, 2016

Jakarta. Thousands of protesters gathered around the Istiqlal Mosque in the heart of the capital on Friday (04/11) to rally against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Dressed in white, the members of several Muslim groups, who accuse the governor of blasphemy, marched along the roads leading to the mosque.

They carried flags of their respective organizations, along with banners displaying slogans such as "Arrest Ahok!," "Prosecute the Insulter of Islam!" and "Send Ahok to Prison!"

Roads surrounding the Istiqlal Mosque were overcrowded and protesters could barely move. Standing on pick-up trucks, some of them shouted through a megaphone to keep the demonstrators moving along orderly.

The authorities have deployed tens of thousands of security officers to safeguard the rally, which the protest leaders have vowed would run peacefully, despite fears that it might turn violent.

Set to conclude at the State Palace in Central Jakarta, the demonstration, led by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), follows a similar relatively peaceful protest staged in the capital three weeks ago.

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