Despite the police issuing a ban on another massive protest against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama planned for Dec 2 in order to protect public order, and despite the Indonesian Ulema Council withdrawing their support for the rally as well, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) seems determined to go through with the demo as planned.
Yesterday, FPI leader Rizieq Shihab said that Indonesian law protected their right to demonstrate and that anybody denying them their right to protest should be convicted for breaking the law.
“Whoever in the Republic of Indonesia prohibit a demonstration [should be convicted], even if they are the president,” Rizieq said at National Police Headquarters after being examined as a witness in the case of Ahok’s alleged blasphemy yesterday as quoted by Tempo.
Rizieq said the December 2 rally was protected by the 1998 Freedom of Expression in Public Law and that those who tried to hinder or block a protest by force could be legally punished.
“So, if the president, the National Police, or anyone obstructs a peaceful demonstration that is protected by the law, they can be convicted and sentenced to up to one year in jail,” Rizieq said.
On Tuesday, Rizieq said nobody should worry about the protest because it would be not just be peaceful, but super peaceful. FPI has also claimed that around 3 million people were ready to join the Dec 2 protest, including members of the country’s major worker’s unions who also plan to demand a higher minimum wage.