Police armored vehicles stand by in front of Parliament House in Jakarta on Tuesday (21/02), waiting for protesters. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A.)

Thousands of '212' Protesters Rally in Front of Parliament House


FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Jakarta. Lawmakers from the House of Representatives' Commission III on legal affairs met with representatives of around 5,000 protesters who rallied in front of parliament house in Jakarta on Tuesday (21/02) and promised to deliver their demands to the government.

The protesters called their demonstration the "212" rally, in reference to today's date and to the earlier "Defend Islam" rally on Dec. 2, 2016.

Representatives of the protesters delivered three demands to the lawmakers in a meeting that lasted two hours.

Muhammad Al Khatath, the secretary general of the Indonesian Muslim Forum and one of the coordinators of the protest, said the group wants President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to suspend Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama since he is currently standing trial on blasphemy charges.

He also demanded police put a stop to "criminalization of ulemas" and put Governor Ahok into custody instead.

"The House of Representatives leaders will deliver these demands to the government," the commission's chairman Bambang Soesatyo said during the meeting.

"We will also tell the National Police chief when the commission meets him tomorrow that you [the protesters] want the police to stop pressing criminal charges against ulemas and take Ahok into custody instead," he added.

After the meeting, Bambang and several of the lawmakers went outside to see the protesters. Bambang grabbed a microphone and told the crowd he will make sure their demands are heard by the government.

Jalan Gatot Subroto was closed from Semanggi to Slipi during the protest.

No violent incidents have been reported from the scene so far.

The protesters started to walk away from the parliament house at around 2 p.m.