Residents of the Chinatown area of Glodok in West Jakarta said they would run business as usual while staying alert following a religion-driven rally that turned violent on Friday in downtown Jakarta.
Ina, 60, an Indonesian woman of Chinese descent, said she decided to keep her Ming Yen restaurant, which serves bakpao (steamed buns) and siomay(steamed dumplings), open following security guarantees from law enforcers.
“Security personnel in my subdistrict have assured me that they would protect us at all costs. I, however, have been warned to remain vigilant,” she said on Saturday.
The rally on Friday, which saw over 100,000 people swarm Jakarta streets, was organized by multiple Muslim groups to demand the criminal prosecution of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for allegedly insulting verses in the Quran.
Ahok, a Christian and Indonesian of Chinese descent, has sparked uproar among Muslim groups after he made a comment on verses in the Quran during his visit to Thousand Islands regency in late September. The police have received about a dozen reports regarding the case.
Meanwhile, Tani, 34, who owns a shop selling Buddhist meditation supplies in Glodok, said she closed her shop early on Friday for safety reasons.
Lani, Tani’s mother, said she had advised her daughter to close the shop early, as she feared the possible recurrence of the 1998 riots, when Indonesians of Chinese descent became mob targets.
“I hope Pak Ahok can learn something from this. Although his work is good, he sometimes acts too tough, which might hurt some people,” said the 71-year-old woman.