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Tensions high ahead of key Jakarta elections

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Tensions high ahead of key Jakarta elections

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

Security forces in Indonesia say they’ll do everything in their power to stop the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) from holding a political rally on Saturday. But tens of thousands of members of the hardline group are expected to defy authorities and march anyway.

The demonstration is aimed at Jakarta’s Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, who’s standing trial over blasphemy allegations. Governor Ahok, a key ally of President Joko Widodo, is contesting next week’s gubernatorial elections amid increasing pressure from religiously conservative elements of Indonesian society to have him jailed.

Given the upcoming vote, Jakarta’s police chiefs are likely to allow the rally to take place to avoid inflaming already high tensions. Some 27,000 security personnel will be deployed in central Jakarta to maintain order.

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