While an estimated 100,000+ Muslims are taking part in a “super peaceful” protest against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama this morning, other incidents that have taken place today are sure to simmer political tensions in Indonesia.
The National Police said eight people were arrested this morning on suspicion of committing treason against the state.
“They’re being investigated by the Jakarta Metro Police,” said National Police Spokesman Inspector General Boy Rafli Amar, as quoted by Kompas.
There is much speculation and conflicting reports about the identities of the eight suspects, but it has been confirmed that four of them are Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Kivlan Zein, and Ratna Sarumpaet.
Rachmawati, daughter of first President Soekarno, was taken by the police from her home at around 5:30am to be investigated at a police precinct in Depok. Her lawyer said he has yet to find out what Rachmawati is being investigated for.
Rachmawati, sister of former president and current PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati, yesterday in a press conference called on protesters to occupy the House of Representatives to demand that the Constitution be returned to its original 1945 version, arguing that amendments made to it have made Indonesia too liberal and dependent on foreign powers.
Sri Bintang Pamungkas, an activist during the 1998 reforms, was arrested after on suspicion that he wants to mobilize protesters to put pressure on the House of Representatives to impeach President Jokowi. Video footage of his arrest has circulated widely on social media this morning.
Former army general Kivlan Zein and human rights activists Ratna Sarumpaet were also confirmed to have been arrested on treason charges.
There are also rumors that musician-cum-politician Ahmad Dhani is among the 8 people arrested. Dhani tweeted that police officers were trying to break his hotel room door open, though it’s not clear if he was actually detained afterwards.
Tonight in front of my hotel room in Sari Pan Pacific, people claiming to be from the Jakarta Metro Police say they’re looking for me.
Dhani was previously reported to the police after he allegedly used profanity to describe President Jokowi during the previous mass protest against Ahok on November 4. He was also present yesterday when Rachmawati called on protesters to occupy the House of Representatives.
President Jokowi previously blamed “political actors” for mobilizing mass anti-Ahok protests, of which there have been one a month since October. It remains to be seen if the eight arrested today were among those who he described to be stirring up the pot for their political gain.
The Jakarta Metro Police warned prior to today’s protest that treason is punishable by the death penalty.
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