Despite the National Police formally naming Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama a suspect for his alleged blasphemy against the Qu’ran last week, the National Movement to Guard the Fatwa of the Indonesian Ulema Council (GNPF-MUI), the body led by hardliner groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) that organized the massive November 4 protest against Ahok, is planning yet another anti-Ahok protest for December 2.
This next protest is supposedly aimed at forcing the police to arrest Ahok and place him into custody (FPI officials have argued that he could flee the country or ‘tamper’ with evidence), but it has already been mixed together with a political protest by workers unions over Jakarta’s minimum wage. The police and government officials have asked that the public not join the next protest because Ahok’s case was being processed according to the law, and have insinuated that further protests would be considered political actions aimed at destabilizing the government.
Adding to those worries is pop star slash candidate for vice regent of Bekasi Ahmad Dhani, who was a major supporter of the Nov 4 protest. He recently said that the Dec 2 protest must be more than just rhetoric and that he thought it would be a good idea for the protesters to come armed with weapons so that the police would not try to repress them.
“I have the idea of there being 1 million bamboo spears [at the Dec 2 protest],” Dhani said at an event yesterday, as quoted by JPNN. The musician added that because he was a political candidate, he could unfortunately not be the panglima bambu runcing (bamboo spear commander) but that he would stand at the head of the protest and deal with the police if need be.
Although the Nov 4 protest was largely peaceful, some of the participants did carry wooden spears and some of those were used to fight with police when violence broke out after nightfall when a small percentage of the protesters refused to leave the area around the State Palace.
Dhani still faces potential criminal charges for a speech he gave during the Nov 4 protest in which he allegedly referred to President Joko Widodo by several vulgar names.