National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has warned Indonesians of an increase in transnational groups promoting intolerance, such as that seen at large-scale rally and prayer events last year.
Dubbed the 411 and 212 rallies as they were held on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, they were participated in by hundreds of thousands of Muslims and aimed to press the government to prosecute Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, for alleged blasphemy.
“Although the rallies were handled well, they indicated factors that could challenge national security and order,” Tito said on Wednesday, referring to the Nov. 4 rally and Dec. 2 prayer event in Jakarta, two of the biggest gatherings recorded in the country.
“They affected tolerance and pluralism and are dangerous to [Indonesia]. This [staying alert] is an important task,” Tito told the audience at the police’s executive meeting, as quoted by kompas.com.
He added that the police anticipated conflicts during the simultaneous regional elections slated for Feb. 15, and had mapped out insecurities in each region.
“We will observe the polarization of people. If it is not managed well, the impact could last a long time,” Tito added.