05/12/2017, 17.18
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More than 7,000 Muslims, Hindus, and Christians gathered in Bali to pray for Ahok

by Emiliana Saptaningsih

Protesters came from different parts of the country and the world. For organiser Didi Kurniawan, "We are gathered here as one family” because Ahok is victim of “a grave injustice”. People are motivated by a desire to defend Indonesia’s pluralism.

Bali (AsiaNews) – Large-scale demonstrations continue across Indonesia in solidarity with Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who is currently in custody after a court in the capital sentenced him to a two-year jail term on Tuesday.

In Denpasar, the capital of Bali, a large crowd of more than 7,000 people took to the streets last night, converging on Puputan Niti Mandala Square, one of the city’s main open venues for a prayer meeting in support of the jailed Christian political leader.

Protesters came from different parts of the country wearing black and holding a lit candle. Several foreigners were present. "Black symbolises the death of the rule of law and the candle represents light in the darkness of injustice in Indonesia," an organiser told AsiaNews.

"We are gathered here as a single family, not for a religious question,” said Didi Kurniawan. “We are here because we followed Ahok’s trial; his conviction is a grave injustice. We are here to defend truth, justice and honesty against corruption."

The rally began with prayers followed by the Indonesian national anthem. The enthusiasm grew as the rally’s presenter invited participants to defend Pancasila, the theory of pluralism on which the Indonesian state is founded. The crowd repeatedly shouted: "Freedom for Ahok, punish Rizieq”, the head of the Islam defence Front (FPI), currently on trial for contempt of Pancasila.

The event was open to anyone who supports not only Ahok but justice above all. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Protestants, and Catholics, people from different religious backgrounds attended. Seniors, young people and even children come to the prayer rally. Together they sang traditional songs about unity in diversity.

In addition to candles, many protesters carried banners with pro-Ahok slogans. However, rally organisers banned them, reminding the crowd that the purpose of the gathering was to pray for Ahok and say no to injustice.

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