Thousands of people joined a peaceful rally in the Puputan Margarana square in Denpasar, Bali, on Monday (06/02) to demand the disbandment of hardline group FPI. (Antara Photo/Nyoman Budhiana)

Thousands of Protesters in Bali Demand Disbandment of FPI

BY :I NYOMAN MARDIKA

FEBRUARY 07, 2017

Jakarta. Thousands of people joined a peaceful rally in the Puputan Margarana square in Denpasar, Bali, on Monday (06/02) to demand the disbandment of hardline group Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, which many accused of having incited violent acts against other ethnic and religious groups.

Around 300 police officers from Denpasar stood guard around the field where the crowd – who called themselves the "Elements of Balinese Community" – carried banners and made speeches.

More than 15 organizations took part in the rally, including Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing GP Ansor and its paramilitary force Banser, Sandi Murti, the Indonesian Churches Association (PGLII), Bali’s Hindu-Muslim Brotherhood, the Indonesian Ethnic Groups Forum (FKPEN) and the Patriotic National Guards (Pagantara).

Prominent cleric Gus Nuril, chairman of the Pagantara, demanded the immediate disbandment of FPI, which he said is an intolerant group and may actually be representing "foreign interests."

Gus Nuril also demanded the disbandment of two other mass organizations: Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) and the Indonesian Mujahideen Council (MMI).

"If a group claimed they are the defenders of Islam but all they do is accuse you of being infidels, will you stay silent?" Gus Nuril said in his speech.

"All of us Indonesians should defend our country from the threat of intolerant groups like the FPI," he added.

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