Anti-Ahok campaigners demand to meet Jokowi in person

BINTANGNEWS.com – A brief meeting between government officials and representatives of protesters who took the streets in front of the State Palace on Friday ended up with nothing after the latter insisted to meet President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in person to express their demands.
At around 15:30 p.m., Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto invited some of the rally leaders, including cleric Bachtiar Nasir, to the State Palace compound to discuss the protesters' demands to the government.
The supposed meeting, however, ended briefly a few minutes later after Bachtiar complained that the protesters’ representatives could not meet President Jokowi in person.
“I can’t [go on]. I’m just a messenger,” Bachtiar said, adding that he would consult with the other rally coordinators to decide whether they would agree to meet with Wiranto or not.
The rally, which kicked off on Friday afternoon, saw over 100,000 people from multiple Islamic organizations swarm the Jakarta streets to demand the criminal prosecution of gubernatorial candidate and incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy. 
Ahok, a Christian and Indonesian of Chinese descent in the Muslim-majority country, sparked uproar among Islamic groups and communities after he made a comment on verses in the Quran during his visit to Thousand Islands regency in late September. The police have received around a dozen reports regarding the case.
Ahok risks losing his candidacy in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election should he be named a suspect in the case.
A number of leading Muslim figures have accused law enforcers of protecting Ahok in the case. Ahok, who previously served as deputy governor of Jakarta, replaced President Jokowi after the latter won the presidential election in 2014.
Wiranto, meanwhile, said that it was up to the protesters to decide.
“I do hope there will be a middle ground by opening communication with them,” he said.
In a possible move to anticipate security tensions, President Jokowi left the State Palace compound on Friday afternoon to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, in what the Palace claimed was a working visit.
“The President is visiting Soekarno-Hatta to inspect the progress of transportation infrastructure development, in particular the airport train [project],” Presidential spokesman Johan Budi said.
The police granted the protesters a permit to stage the rally until 6 p.m.***
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Editing: T. Bintang

Sumber: Thejakartapost

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