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Jakarta Post

Support grows as '#Ahok' grabs worldwide attention

  • Bagus Saragih
    Bagus Saragih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 9, 2017   /   10:13 pm
Support grows as '#Ahok' grabs worldwide attention A flower message by Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's supporters after the North Jakarta District Court finds the governor guilty of blasphemy and sentences him to two years in jail on Tuesday. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

From Sumatra to Papua and in many foreign countries, people have been posting on social media to comment on the guilty verdict and two-year jail term handed down to Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, making #Ahok a worldwide trending topic for quite some time on Tuesday.

Notable artists and journalists, as well as international political observers, joined ordinary Jakartans and other social media users across Indonesia to criticize the verdict. Also, international media outlets ran the breaking news as soon as the judges banged the gavel on Ahok’s conviction.

(Read also: Respect Ahok's verdict, Jokowi says)

Other related hashtags also went viral, such as #RIPHukum (Rest in Peace the law), #SaveAhok, #FreeAhok, #RIPIndonesiajustice and #Ahokbukanpenistaagam (Ahok is not a blasphemer).

“Even the world of fiction is losing its pull today. Too distracted by this sad news. Can’t work,” tweeted @deelestari, the prominent author Dewi “Dee” Lestari. The tweet got 901 retweets and 612 likes as of Tuesday evening.

Terrorism expert Sydney Jones, via her Twitter account @sidneyIPAC, also had her say. “Ahok was slandered, declared guilty before the trial, held accountable in a questionable legal proceeding and now detained. Is this a state with the rule of law?” she tweeted in Indonesian. Other international observers tweeted similar sentiments.

Daniel Ziv, the director of an award-winning documentary about street musicians in Jakarta called Jalanan (Streetside), which once moved Ahok to tears, also expressed his anger: “Ahok's jailing confirms the Islamists & New Orderists aren't satisfied just winning the election, but aim to purge & take over the country.”

Many have composed creative memes, mostly in support of Ahok, who has been praised as an anti-corruption champion despite his harsh and outspoken speaking style.

Journalist Benjamin Bland (@benjaminbland) quoted a Malaysian politician commenting on Ahok’s verdict, saying that it would also disconcert ASEAN.

As of 9 p.m., hundreds of Ahok’s supporters were reportedly staying outside the Cipinang detention center in East Jakarta where the Ahok had been detained. They wanted to express support for the governor and meet him.

Hours after the verdict, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo assigned deputy governor Djarot Syaiful Hidayat to be acting Jakarta governor.

Ahok and Djarot were running mates in the 2017 Jakarta election, but lost to the Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno, who had considerable backing from conservative Islamic groups.

Supporters of the now suspended Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama burst into tears after a panel of judges at the North Jakarta District Court sentence him to two years in jail for blasphemy. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)