Indonesian president moves to prevent 'growth of radicalism'

World Tuesday 22/November/2016 18:13 PM
By: Times News Service
Indonesian president moves to prevent 'growth of radicalism'

Jakarta: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday he was determined to "prevent the growth of radicalism", apparently responding to rumours that extremists were planning protests to destabilise his government.
Officials say there has been mounting alarm within the government since more than 100,000 people led by hardliners, took to the streets of Jakarta on November 4 to demand the ouster of the capital's governor over alleged blasphemy.
National Police Chief Tito Karnavian warned on Monday that certain groups may try to storm parliament during rallies that are expected this Friday and on December 2.
"There are hidden methods by certain groups to enter and occupy parliament... If (these actions) are intended to overthrow the government, that's a violation of the law," Karnavian said, according to media.
Widodo has blamed "political actors" for fanning violence that erupted during the November 4 protest, though he has not named anyone.
Analysts have said opponents of Widodo, the first Indonesian president to have come from outside the political elite or military, are using the religious furore over the Jakarta governor to undermine him.
Widodo held talks with a senior coalition partner on Tuesday, the latest in a series of meetings with top political, religious and military officials to signal the unity of his government and support from the security establishment.
"I want to emphasise the spirit of pluralism... and the government is determined to prevent the growth of radicalism in this country," he told reporters after the meeting at the presidential palace.
Widodo has met repeatedly with the military and called for security forces to be on alert against further unrest.
He has also met with top politicians, including the leader of his backing party, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and opposition leader Prabowo Subianto. The three have jointly called for calm.
The trigger for the tension was a comment that Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama made about his opponents' political campaigning.
Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, is running for re-election in February against two candidates, including the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Widodo has been seen as one of the governor's main supporters.
Police have opened a probe into allegations against Purnama and questioned him on Tuesday. Prosecutors are expected to bring a case to court in the coming weeks. He could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.
Officials are also investigating a social media campaign calling for a run on banks on November 25 in protest over the government's handling of the complaint against Purnama, the police press relations department said on Twitter.
"It is our shared responsibility not to follow suggestions that are intended to inflict damage," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters on Monday, in response to a question about a possible run on banks. "...Economic recovery and stability are very important for the public."