Only two days after the rally on 2 December last week, Jakarta was again occupied by tens of thousand of people on 4 December 2016, specifically on the avenues of Sudirman and MH Thamrin, coinciding with the routine car free day which was usually held on weekends on the area.
Tens of thousands of crowds thronged the avenues, to show national unity and call for tolerance after a Muslim rally demanded the arrest of the city’s first Christian governor for alleged blasphemy on 2 Dec.
Different from the previous two rallies, the crowd held signs of ‘We are Indonesia’ signs and waving red-and-white national flags, gathering not to demand anything but to remind and urge fellow Indonesian to be united and live in harmony under Pancasila (Indonesian Five Moral Principles) Ideology.
The crowds at Hotel Indonesia Circle, MH Thamrin Avenue / photo: Mohamad Guntur Romli Twitter post
Kompas reported, Chairman of the Indonesian National Alliance, Viktor Laiskodat, in a written statement issued to media on 5 Dec, stated, “The event was held, because we are concerned about the condition of this nation in the last few months. We tried to remind people to live together under Pancasila’s umbrella in religious life in Indonesia.”
“This event was attended by a number of political party leaders, religious leaders, representatives of many community and religious organizations,”
Viktor, who is also the Chairman of National Democrats Party, said on Friday there were 500,000 participants to the event, but Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono, said on Sunday, roughly 30,000 people attended the rally.
The ‘Parade of Indonesian Culture,’ as the unity demonstration was also called by its organizers, featured traditional dances from Sabang in the country’s most western region in Aceh Province, to Merauke in its most eastern region in Papua Province.
An Indonesian regional dance / photo: Mohamad Guntur Romli Twitter post
Ten cultural stages were erected in Jalan MH Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman and a main stage was set up in front of Hotel Indonesia.
The Indonesian regional dancers / photo: ‘Teman Ahok’ (Friends of Ahok) Twitter post
Earlier on Friday, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, saw the event of the 212 Mass Friday prayer (212) in demand to detain Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahja Purnomo – who is used to be called by his friendly name ‘Ahok’ – in accusation of disrespecting the Koran, a charge that could put him in prison for five years.
“This is no match whatsoever. What’s to match?, because ‘We are Indonesia’. Unity in diversity is not for contest,” was written in ‘Frends of Ahok’, a Twitter website made to support the Jakarta Governor.
— Sejuta Teman (@sejutatemanid) December 4, 2016
“Nusantara United, Indonesia is mine, yours, we belong together.” Another Twitter post was from the Traffic Management Center of Jakarta Metropolitan Police.
— TMC Polda Metro Jaya (@TMCPoldaMetro) December 4, 2016
And yet another Twitter post, ‘Diversity Parade’ announced unity: Colorful diversity combined into one circle. Diversity is ‘We are Indonesia’.
— Parade Bhinneka (@idnbhinneka) December 4, 2016
The Governor has since apologized for his remark, saying that he had intended to criticize his opponents, and not the holy book itself. He has said that he is willing to be arrested and jailed if he indeed create chaos in the country but not because of defamation.
“If this country is really so messed up because Ahok, I was willing to be arrested, imprisoned. But not (jailed) for defamation,” he said.
Earlier on 16 Nov, Kompas has reported that the Criminal Investigation Police has officially set Ahok as a suspect in a case of religious defamation.
Kompas wrote that Ahok has chosen not to file pre-trial, earlier last month he had considered the option of doing so.