02/22/2017, 16.07
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With Ahok leading in first round of gubernatorial election, Islamists protest

Islamic groups want to stop the incumbent governor. In October, he was charged with blasphemy and put on trial. Today’s demonstrations are aimed at pressuring the government. Home Affairs minister notes that only Ahok is targeted.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, Jakarta’s incumbent governor, and his running mate for deputy governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, will take part in the gubernatorial runoff from a position of strength, a result that has further enraged Islamists.

Agus Yudhoyono Harimurti, a former army officer and eldest son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, failed to make it to the second-round. He was backed by a number of Islamic organisations and some Muslim leaders.

The incumbent governor will face off against Anies Baswedan, a former education minister, and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

In an attempt to stop Ahok, many Indonesian Islamist organisations are keeping up pressure. The Islamic Community Society (FUI) held yesterday protests against the governor (pictured).

This follows mass demonstrations by extremist Islamic groups against President Joko Widodo to stop Ahok, who has been caught up in a blasphemy case since October.

Despite this, Ahok has managed to increase its popularity with Jakarta voters and remains the favourite to win.

With yesterday protest aimed at discrediting Ahok, radical Islamic leaders sought the support of the Indonesian Parliament. Protesters crowded the entrance to the building to draw the attention of lawmakers and push Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo to stop Ahok.

Contrary to protesters’ demands, the minister refused to intervene against Jakarta’s governor. A few months ago, the Indonesian Supreme Court had turned down an application to hear a similar demand.

In recent years, several governors and local administrators have been accused of corruption and gone to trial, but in none of these cases has the government been asked to remove them from office.

Only in Ahok’s case have radical Islamists insistently called on the government to “take action” against him, Mr Kumolo said.

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