The Jakarta Post
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has said the arrest of 11 people a few hours before Friday’s mass gathering was made to prevent incitement of the public ahead of the event, held by conservative Muslim groups to push for the arrest of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy.
Speaking to lawmakers at a hearing with House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs, Tito said that the police did not want the public to misunderstand the arrests, which were made early on Friday.
“[Reports about the arrest] could have been spun through social media. I believe you already understand the power of social media. […] It can brutally spin everything,” Tito said.
On Friday morning, the Jakarta Police separately arrested 11 activists for allegedly committing either treason or hate speech. The arrests were made just several hours before the start of the mass gathering at the National Monument square.
Among the arrested were musician-cum-politician Ahmad Dhani, retired two-star Army general Kivlan Zein, former lawmaker Sri Bintang Pamungkas and Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, sister of former president and ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
The police have released all of them except Sri Bintang, who was charged for alleged treason, and Jamran and Rizal Kobar for alleged hate speech.
"He [Sri Bintang] cannot be released yet, as he is still undergoing questioning with National Police investigators," National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said over the weekend.
Friday’s rally ended peacefully with the over 500,000 participants dispersing immediately after the conclusion of Friday prayers in the early afternoon. (hwa)
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