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Candle lit vigil in for Ahok in Makassar broken up by Islamic vigilantes

Detik News - May 13, 2017

Muhammad Nur Abdurrahman, Makassar – A candlelight vigil for Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in front of the Stella Maris Hospital in Losari Beach, Makassar, was forcibly broken up by members of the South Sulawesi Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Makassar Islamic Students Association (HMI) on the evening of Saturday May 13.

Fortunately, officers from the Makassar metropolitan district police (polrestabes) and the TNI (Indonesian military) were overseeing the action so no clashes occurred between the two groups.

The FPI members had earlier prevented Makassar residents from holding a "Night of 1,000 Candles for Ahok" event at the nearby Losari Beach Pavilion.

HMI Makassar branch chairperson Muwaffiq Nurimansyah who led the protests against the candlelight vigil said that the blasphemy conviction against Ahok in Jakarta should not be dramatised and spread to the point Makassar residents became involved.

"The Ahok case is a criminal and personal one, don't turn it into a religious issue because it could provoke SARA [ethnic, religion, race, and inter-group inspired conflict]. Don't hold any more 1,000 candles for Ahok events, we will extinguish them", said Muwaffiq.

Makassar Mayor Ramdhan Pomanto, who intervened in order to prevent a clash, claimed that news of the Ahok solidarity action had only been spread on social media and did not have a permit from police. He also claimed that no social organisations had taken responsibility for the event.

"Makassar people are mature, this can be seen from in a tense situation they can still think rationally, we shouldn't be provoked, we are all sisters and brothers, don't tarnish us with [political] interests that we don't really understand. The plan is for us to hold an inter-religious meeting", said Ramdhan.

Makassar resident and Ahok supporter Jefriar Dunda meanwhile said that he regretted that the solidarity for Ahok event had been forcibly broken up by the FPI.

"We came here wanting to take part in singing the national anthem Indonesia Raya, why was it broken up? We weren't taking up religious issues, because we want to live in a country based on [the principle of] Bhinneka Tunggal [unity in diversity]", said Jefriar. (mna/jor)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Aksi Dukung Ahok di Pantai Losari Dibubarkan Massa".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-3500150/aksi-dukung-ahok-di-pantai-losari-dibubarkan-massa