Anti-Ahok protesters. (Antara Photo/Hendra Nurdiyansyah)

Jakarta Police Issue Official Warning Against 'Acts of Treason' During Anti-Ahok Protests

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Jakarta. Jakarta Police chief Gen. Insp. Mochamad Iriawan has issued an official warning against acts of treason and disturbance of public order during planned protests by Muslim groups against the capital's Christian and ethnic-Chinese governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

The warning letter, signed by Iriawan on Monday (21/11), came following reports that certain groups are attempting to "occupy" the Parliamentary Complex during a street protest planned for Nov. 25, a move police said they will consider as an act of treason.

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Another massive street protest in the capital is planned for Dec. 2 by Muslim groups that have been demanding the immediate arrest of Ahok, who was named a blasphemy suspect last week for allegedly insulting a verse from the Koran.

The warning letter said "in a public protest, crimes against the state and acts of treason against the president and vice president are prohibited."

"Those found to have committed such acts can face the death penalty, a life sentence or 20 years in prison as stipulated under the criminal code and other specified laws," Iriawan said.

During a similar protest in the capital earlier this month, Muslim groups had demanded that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo refrain from meddling in police investigation into Ahok's blasphemy case.

During the Nov. 4 protest, the State Palace became the focal point for a demonstration that eventually turned violent, while next week's street protest is planned to take place at Central Jakarta's Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and along Jalan M.H. Thamrin and Jalan Jenderal Sudirman.

The police warning also contains prohibitions on disturbing public order, damaging public facilities and obstructing traffic based on a 1998 law on freedom of expression, according to Iriawan.

"If the protesters break the law, the police will come down hard on them. We have the power to break them up or arrest them," Iriawan said.

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