Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Ed Davies and Nick Macfie
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian Muslims led by hardline groups plan to march to the presidential palace in the capital Jakarta on Friday, calling for the city’s Christian governor to be sacked for suspected blasphemy.
Religious and political tensions have been running high ahead of a second and final round of the Jakarta governor election on April 19. Incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is on trial for blasphemy, is running against a Muslim candidate.
The rally is expected to be the biggest demonstration since mass prayers in the grand mosque just days before the election’s first round on Feb. 15, and the latest in a series of protests that have tested religious and ethnic tolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
“An estimated 20,000 people from various groups, including students, will participate,” said national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.
“They will gather at the Istiqlal mosque (grand mosque) and the plan is to march to the presidential palace.”