Police, Protesters Clash in Indonesian Capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Police in the Indonesian capital clashed with hard-line Muslim protesters refusing to disperse after a massive protest Friday to demand the arrest of the city’s minority-Christian governor for alleged blasphemy.

Police in the area of the presidential palace and national monument in central Jakarta fired tear gas and water cannons as they faced off with protesters angry that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had not met with them.

AP reporters saw two vehicles on fire and protesters setting alight rubbish left behind from the massive protest. Protesters retreated after running clashes with police but at least hundreds of demonstrators were still in the area.

Television footage showed an injured officer being taken to an ambulance.

Fearing violence, police had put on a show of force for the protest, supported by soldiers and public order officers, while embassies closed, some shops were shuttered and Jakarta’s normally traffic-clogged streets were nearly empty of cars.

The tens of thousands of predominantly male demonstrators, most wearing white shirts and skull caps, had massed at the Istiqlal Mosque for the protest following weekly Friday prayers and marched on the nearby presidential palace. Large protests also took place in other cities including Medan on Sumatra, Makassar in Sulawesi and Malang in East Java.

Members of an Islamic student group threw plastic water bottles and other objects at riot police, but generally the massive demonstration appeared to have gone off without any major incident during the day.


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