Last Friday, thousands of members of the Islamic Defenders Front and other hardline mass organizations protested in front of City Hall demanding that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama be punished for his purportedly anti-Islam remarks, which had, by then, been established to be edited out of context.
Judging by media reports, one can conclude that the protest was an intense affair, with emotions running high as protesters voiced their disapproval of Ahok. But no footage came close to painting the real picture of the protest than that of a mini documentary by Facebook user Deo Mahameru, who went down to the protest himself and filmed what it was like to be among the crowd.
The whole video is in Bahasa Indonesia, so we’ll give you a break down of the kind of horrific intolerance on display for almost the entire duration of the video:
00:55 – An orator is heard repeating, “Muslims who defend Ahok aren’t Muslims. They are kafirs (infidels) wearing Muslim masks.”
01:15 – Crowd chants, “Ahok is dumb, Ahok is dumb, let him die.”
2:05 – A protester says to the camera, “We are ready to sound the battle drums. Muslims aren’t afraid.”
2:42 – A member of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) mass organization shouts to the camera, “Ahok must be hanged! Burn him while we’re at it!” followed by another one saying, “Burn him alive!”
3:10 – FPI leader Habib Rizieq gives a speech from atop a truck: “The president shouldn’t protect Ahok! Next time we go down to protest we won’t invade City Hall, but we’ll take over the Parliament! … Don’t let the integrity of the nation come into question just to protect one infidel like Ahok!”
4:41 – An FPI leader takes over from Habib Rizieq, saying in his speech, “We are gathered here to demand that the pig’s wart (Ahok) steps down from Jakarta! That pig’s wart must fall!”
5:18 – Senior politician Amien Rais, who led and inspired the 1998 Indonesian reforms, said in his speech, “Please, Pak [President] Jokowi, Pak [Vice President] Jusuf Kalla, pak National Police chief, pak military commander, all politicians who still have their conscience, quickly and swiftly punish Ahok.”
5:42 – Habib Rizieq leads the chant, “Let’s all unite, crush that (Ahok’s) head that’s made of stone, do you agree, that Ahok must be killed?”
The racism and intolerance displayed in the video is downright sickening, and making a threat against someone’s life is actually punishable by up to 2 years and 8 months in prison in accordance to the KUHP (Criminal Code).
That said, we do not believe in any way that the actions and words of these protesters represent that of all Jakartans, Muslims or otherwise. It’s important to remember that the protesters were made up of only a couple of thousand people, in a city of 10 million that’s full of diverse and largely tolerant people.