Some 200,000 Indonesians have taken to the streets in Jakarta in a second, major protest rally against the governor of the capital .
They gathered in Jakarta’s National Monument park on Friday, calling for the arrest of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a who is being prosecuted as a suspect in a blasphemy case.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who is a political ally of the embattled Jakarta governor, unexpectedly arrived at the site and called for protesters to disperse peacefully.
Over 20,000 security forces had been deployed to the city to ensure the demonstration stayed orderly. Police said they had arrested eight people suspected of “treason.”
Two other people were arrested for alleged crimes under Indonesia’s law on electronic information and transactions.
A previous protest in Jakarta had attracted about 100,000 people, who marched on the presidential palace and called for Purnama’s dismissal, on November 4.
Clashes during that protest left one person dead and dozens of others injured. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.
Purnama stirred controversy after he dismissed a political attack by his opponents by invoking a verse from the holy Qur’an. His move was perceived as an insult to Islam by his opponents.
The governor is being investigated for blasphemy, which is considered a criminal offense in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.
On Wednesday, the Office of the State Prosecutor announced that the police record on the case had met the requirements for Purnama’s blasphemy case to proceed to a trial.
The ethnic Chinese governor could be imprisoned for five years if found guilty.