The police have said they will not allow a street rally planned by Muslim groups on Feb. 11 on the streets of Jakarta, citing security concerns ahead of the Feb. 15 simultaneous regional elections.
Saturday this week is the last day of the campaign period, which started back in October last year. A “quiet period” has been scheduled between Feb. 12 and 14.
Police said they have been informed of plans for the Feb. 11 street rally, during which which Muslim groups will gather at the National Monument, or Monas, complex in Central Jakarta before marching along Jalan Thamrin to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
The hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) claimed they want the rally to rival the massive “212” protest on Dec. 2 in terms of crowd number.
“We will not give a permit for any street activity for the time being,” the police’s head of intelligence and security unit Comr. Gen. Lutfi Lubihanto said in Jakarta on Tuesday (07/02).
“Security officers are busy preparing for the election,” he added.
Previously, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said the so-called quiet period is a perfect moment for many citizens to take stock and contemplate their choices of leaders.
The minister said no rallies are allowed during the quiet period, as stipulated in Indonesia’s Election Law.
“Anyone violating the order will have to reckon with the police,” he added.
Muslim groups, including the FPI, have been demanding for a Muslim leader in Jakarta, which is now led by Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent who is seeking re-election in the Feb. 15 poll.