JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian security forces in Jakarta have vowed to take stern action against Islamic conservative groups, including the FPI, if they celebrate an annual gathering at the National Monumen or Monas known as the 212 Reunion Rally.
“The FPI, the National Movement to Safeguard Ulama [GNPF-U] and others have written a statement that they will cancel [this year’s 212] gathering,” Jakarta Miitary Commander Major General Dudung Abdurachman said to the Antara state news agency on November 23.
“If the FPI break their word, [the Jakarta Military Command] and the [Jakarta Metropolitan] Police will crack down on them. The military, police and Public Order Agency [Satpol PP] have taken down over 900 illegal FPI banners and similar posters since last September.”
He added that the FPI raised the banners again after they were taken down in Jakarta. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Herwin Budi Saputra was just as scathing about the banners.
“The FPI banners [featuring chief Rizieq Shihab] are provocative in nature. What is wrong with Indonesia to the extent that it needs a ‘moral revolution’, as the banners said?,” he noted. The authorities also tore down FPI banners in East Java.
The move drew the FPI’s disdain. “It is amusing to see [the military] bothering with some banners, or discussing the disbanding [of the FPI],” said FPI lawyer Aziz Yanuar.
“[Dudung] should be penalized for touching on issues outside his authority. The military detaining soldiers expressing support for Rizieq and doing nothing to Dudung reflects their double standards.”
Dudung has warned the FPI that he will crack down on them if they sowed division among the Indonesian public.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan also issued a directive calling for the groups affiliated with the 212 Reunion Rally not to gather in Monas, in line with government health protocols banning large gatherings to stop the transmission of Covid-19.
The FPI and other groups in the 212 Reunion pledged to comply with the Jakarta Provincial Administration in not holding their annual December 2 rally in Monas.
However, they threatened to hold it in defiance of the government if the latter allowed mass gatherings for nationwide local elections.
The 212 Reunion worked their way into Indonesian politics in 2017, after they helped Anies beat his Christian predecessor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama alias Ahok in Jakarta’s gubernatorial elections that year.
They also engineered his trial for blasphemy, which got Ahok a two-year prison sentence.
(Editor: Sandro Gatra)
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