Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed disappointment over the fact that the demonstration against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on Friday (04/11) turned violent and said there were “political actors” exploiting the situation.
The president made his comments at the State Palace in Central Jakarta after a meeting with National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, State Secretary Pratikno, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Chief Security Minister Wiranto and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo.
President Jokowi started his comment by thanking the Islamic leaders who have calmed the followers and helped the demonstration to remain generally peaceful until 06.00 p.m.
However, he said he regretted that the rally, which was supposed to be peaceful, turned violent, especially after Isya.
He was referring to the Muslim evening prayer time, which starts at around 7.00 p.m.
The demonstrators were supposed to disperse at 06.00 p.m., based on the permit issued by the authorities, but as of 00.34 a.m. on Saturday, some were still occupying parts of Jakarta’s main streets, especially Jalan Gatot Subroto, in the direction of the House of Representatives building in Senayan.
“We have seen that this was being exploited by political actors, who took advantage of the situation,” Jokowi said.
He added that he has instructed Vice President Jusuf Kalla to receive representatives of the demonstrators, accompanied by the chief security minister, state secretary, police chief and military chief.
Jokowi said legal proceedings related to the blasphemy allegations against Ahok will be “firm, quick and transparent.”
He called on all demonstrators to disperse and “go back home to their regions” and let law enforcers do their jobs.
“I hope the public will remain calm and maintain [security] in their own areas,” Jokowi said.