Rally Turns Violent In Jakarta As Muslim Hardliners Attack Police

Rally turns violent in Jakarta as Muslim hardliners attack police

JAKARTA,, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 04th Nov, 2016 ) - A massive demonstration by tens of thousands of Indonesian Muslims against Jakarta's governor turned ugly Friday as hardliners burned police cars and officers were injured in angry clashes. The violent scenes -- just metres from the presidential palace and city hall -- marred an otherwise peaceful rally against governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian accused of insulting islam. Three officers were injured as radical protesters hurled stones and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told AFP.

"I hope the injuries are not serious, they have been taken away from the scene," he said. "The latest situation is we're persuading the protesters to go home, and some have started to leave, especially after we fired tear gas. But some still refuse." Police had earlier declared the much-hyped demonstration against Purnama, in which 50,000 protesters gathered at the city's largest mosque before taking to the streets in a huge show of force, a largely peaceful affair.

Authorities took no chances in the lead up to the protest, deploying 18,000 officers and extra soldiers across Jakarta amid fears that radical elements could infiltrate the march. The demonstration appeared to be dying down by dusk as thousands began leaving the protest zone. But as night fell mobs of hardliners, draped in the white militant uniforms favoured by Indonesian extremist groups, ran amok and attacked police, who hit back with tear gas, water cannon and truncheons.