The Jakarta Post
Some school-age boys were seen among a demonstration demanding non-active Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's arrest for alleged blasphemy.
They were spotted participating in Friday’s “Aksi 313” protest against the governor, who is on trial for allegedly blaspheming Islam by misquoting a Quranic verse.
The young boys claimed that they came of their own will.
Rizky Ramadhan, 16, came from Cibubur, East Jakarta on his own initiative with a schoolmate to “defend religion and the Al Maidah verse.”
Rizky said on Friday that he had participated in similar rallies previously, such as “Aksi 411” on Nov. 4 and “Aksi 212” on Dec. 2 last year.
Although they came without any adult accompanying them, he – like other young participants -- said that his parents had given him permission to travel to Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta, the center of the rally, to join other protesters.
“My school finished earlier than usual, so I was able to come to Istiqlal [mosque] to join the rally,” Rizky told The Jakarta Post.
Other kids were also willing to go to Istiqlal mosque because their teachers told students to go home earlier due to the protest in Central Jakarta, according to Rizky. Like him, Asep Saputra, 12, and his three schoolmates attended the rally without any adult chaperone.
“We also heard the information from our religion teacher at school,” Asep said.
The “Aksi 313” rally, referring to March 31, was expected to draw more than 20,000 people. It was a follow-up of two protests last year. (kkk/dan)