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Police resolute in stopping 212 reunion rally in Indonesia capital

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Thousands of people gather at the Monument National (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta for the 212 reunion rally on Dec. 2, 2017. The Jakarta Post

Police resolute in stopping 212 reunion rally in Indonesia capital

Indonesian police have asserted that they will not allow a planned 212 reunion rally to take place next month, saying that authorities will disperse the event if it goes ahead, so as to ensure the enforcement of Covid-19 protocols in Jakarta.

National Police spokesman Brigadier General Awi Setiyono told a press conference broadcast by KompasTV on November 17: “We will not allow [the rally]. We will not issue the permit and we have been clear on the matter.”

Awi said National Police chief General Idham Azis had firmly ordered the chiefs of all regional police as well as police officers on the ground to enforce health protocols indiscriminately in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“If anyone still gathers [in crowds], we will disperse them. This is a very clear order from the chief,” Awi said.

The 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) recently announced that it would stage a mass reunion at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta.

The group, which is closely associated with the controversial Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), is known as the driving force behind the sectarian rally held on December 2, 2016, to demand the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.

PA 212 deputy secretary-general Novel Bamukmin confirmed the plan to hold the reunion rally, but still could not reveal further details on the matter, tribunnews.com reported.

The plan for the reunion this year coincided with the return of FPI leader Rizieq Shihab to Indonesia following approximately three years of proclaimed self-exile in Saudi Arabia.

Rizieq’s arrival caught public attention as thousands of his supporters gathered around Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, to welcome him on November 10, causing traffic congestion and disrupting flights.

The firebrand leader again drew ire after he gathered huge crowds during the commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (Maulid) and the wedding of his daughter over the weekend in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) had ordered Rizieq to pay a 50 million rupiah ($3,500) fine for violating Covid-19 protocols during the events.

The police are currently investigating possible violations of health protocols during the event, with suspects, if any, to be charged under Article 93 of Law No 6/2019 on health quarantine.

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and other city officials were summoned for questioning related to the case at the Jakarta Police headquarters on November 17.

The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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