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Papuans join waves of support for Ahok

Jakarta Post - May 15, 2017

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura, Papua – Thousands of citizens of Jayapura in Papua have joined waves of national and international support for the release of non-active Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama from detention as well as to save the state ideology of Pancasila from efforts to undermine it.

The four-kilometer long march from Papua Regional Representatives (DPRD) to the governor's office on Monday, which was coordinated by Ecumenical Council of Churches in Papua (PGGP), also demanded the dissolution of Islamic hard-line group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the arrest of FPI leader Rizieq Shihab.

PGGP chairman, Catholic bishop Leo Laba Ladjar stated that radicalism in Indonesia had reached an alarming level. "We believe the radical movements trouble our security and nationhood. We are becoming polarized," he stated.

Many believe that the North Jakarta District Court's decision to sentence Ahok to two years' imprisonment for blasphemy on May 9 was the result of pressure from hardline groups.

Addressing the rally at his office, Papua deputy governor Klemen Tinal said "the rally's aspiration is to remind us that we live in the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] under Pancasila and the UUD 45 Constitution."

Every evening since May 10, Jayapura residents have held a candle light vigil at Imbi park to support Ahok.

Ahok's conviction has sparked protests from thousands of Indonesians nationwide and worldwide, who have staged gatherings demanding authorities release him from prison, as well as to support the unity of Indonesia against Islamic radicalism.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/05/15/papuans-join-waves-of-support-for-ahok.html