FPI members arrested during violent protest
Sita W. Dewi
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police arrested Friday afternoon 20 members of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI) during a protest outside City Hall that turned violent.
Speaking to reporters, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono reiterated that the police would take firm action against the group.
'This is my warning to the FPI coordinator: Give yourself up; Otherwise, we will arrest you tonight,' Unggung said on Friday.
More than 10 police officers were injured - two were rushed to hospital - while a number of cars were also damaged during the protest, after hundreds of protesters bearing FPI banners threw stones and rocks at the Jakarta Legislative Council building on Jl. Kebon Sirih, adjacent to City Hall on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan.
The FPI called the rally to reject Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, due to his ethnicity. Ahok will soon be replacing outgoing Governor and president-elect Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
Jokowi was at City Hall during Friday's protest, while Ahok was in South Korea to attend the closing ceremony of the Asian Games.
The police shot tear gas at the protesters in an effort to disperse them.
Less than half an hour later, the demonstrators relocated to Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan and started to throw rocks and animal feces at City Hall.
'The [arrested protesters] have been taken to Jakarta Police headquarters,' Unggung added. (nfo)(++++)
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