Indonesian Muslims filled Jakarta's National Monument (Monas) on Monday morning to commemorate the Dec. 2, 2016 rally to oust then Jakarta governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama. (Antara Photo/Aruna)

Tame End to Anti-Ahok '212 Movement' Reunion as Anies Urges End to Division


DECEMBER 02, 2019

Jakarta. A gathering of Indonesian Muslims to commemorate the third anniversary of the "212 Movement," a massive street rally on Dec. 2, 2016 – hence the 212 moniker – calling for the ouster of then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for allegedly insulting Islam, ended early on Monday morning with a speech by Ahok's successor, Anies Baswedan.

Anies, dressed in his official drab brown uniform, delivered a speech promoting national unity and social justice at the rally around the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta. 

Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Yusri Yunus said organizers of the rally had agreed to finish the event early since it took place on the first workday of the week.

"The event ended at 8.30 a.m. as we – the organizers and security officials including the police and the TNI [Indonesian Military] – had agreed. It ran smoothly without any incident," Yusri said.

Thousands of people – many from outside Jakarta – started gathering at the Monas square since Sunday evening. They performed the dawn prayer together at the square before the proper event started.

The governor was also there to address the crowd.

"My message is that diversity is not the only thing that makes Indonesia so unique. Many other countries are as plural as Indonesia. Look at China, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan," Anies told the crowd.

"What makes Indonesia different? It's our national unity. This is what makes Indonesia great," the governor said.

He said as governor his main duty is to ensure social justice for everyone.
"Our responsibility is to make sure that social justice is experienced by every Indonesian [in Jakarta]. When we have equal opportunities, and everyone is treated equally, then we have justice. We have unity," he said.

Many in the crowd had wanted to see Rizieq Syihab, the leader of the 212 Movement and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) – one of Indonesia's largest hardline Muslim groups – who had been living in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia for more than two years.

In the end, Rizieq did make an appearance, but only on a video screen. He praised the "heartfelt struggle" of Indonesian Muslims three years ago to oust a "tyrant of a leader backed by the central government, major media companies, the General Election Commission, polling agencies and the business entities."

Peserta aksi reuni 212 berfoto dengan latar belakang foto Imam FPI Habib Rizieq usai mengikuti aksi tersebut di kawasan Monas, Jakarta, Senin (2/12/2019). Reuni tersebut digelar untuk lebih mempererat tali persatuan umat Islam dan persatuan bangsa Indonesia. ANTARA FOTO/Muhammad Adimaja/ama.
People take pictures of a flag depicting the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Syihab during the '212 Movement Reunion' event at the National Monument in Jakarta on Monday. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Other Muslim clerics attending Monday morning's rally also made speeches critical of the government.

Ahok became a target of a series of massive Muslim rallies at the end of 2016 after he allegedly misquoted the Quran in a speech.

Despite winning the first round of the gubernatorial election the following year, he eventually lost the two-horse race to Anies in the second round in April 2017.

A month later, he was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in jail. 

Ahok had only recently returned to public service after serving his sentence. He was appointed the chief commissioner of state-run oil company Pertamina last week.