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December 2016 Jakarta protests, also known as 212 Action, the Action for Defending Islam III and the December 2 Peace Protest, was a mass protest led by Islamist groups which took place on December 2, 2016, in Jakarta, Indonesia. During the protest, at least hundreds of thousands of marchers demanded for the termination of the gubernatorial office held by Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), who had been accused as a suspect in the blasphemy case. The protest is the second prosecution of Ahok in 2016 succeeding the previous rally which took place on 4 November, and it was succeeded by the February 2017 Jakarta protests.
The incumbent governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was contesting for the forthcoming 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, was accused of blasphemy against Islam following his speech on September 27, 2016. National outcry against his perceived misdemeanor had triggered a small scale protest on October 14, and a nationwide protest in November 2016, the later reported widely among the international media as well, with many consider it a crisis of democracy and the conservatism among the Islam in Indonesia. Facing the counter-protest by the pro-Ahok groups on November 30, the oppositions and Islamist groups have jointly planned for even wider scale and more inclusive protest.
Initially, the protest was planned to be held on November 25, but then it was agreed to be held on December 2, 2016. The National Movement of Fatwa Guards - Majelis Ulama Indonesia (GNPF-MUI), the main organizer of the November 4 protest, said it would hold a similar action again on December 2, 2016. The leader of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Muhammad Rizieq Shihab said that this action would take place with the extra commitment for nonviolence as it will be held in the form of joint worship. This statement received mixed responses. The chairman of the House of Representatives, Ade Komaruddin chose not to respond to the statement and requested reporters to ask directly to the organizers. The police chief Tito Karnavian threatened not to issue permission for the action upon fear of going violent. After an agreement between the organizers and the police, the action was agreed to take place with activities in the form of praying and the joint performance of Friday prayers.
The protest was held at the Merdeka Square surrounding the National Monument in Central Jakarta. The number of attendees ranged from 200,000 (police claims) to millions (organizers' claims). From video evidence scattered across various social media and video sharing websites via drone camera, it can be seen that the mass extends to the main road of Hotel Indonesia Roundabout. During the protest, a number of activities were carried out, including praying and joint Friday prayers. The president of Indonesia Joko Widodo attended the event and was warmly welcomed by the participants. Among the celebrities who joined the protest, there were Ardian Syaf, the prominent Indonesian comic artist, and Wijayanto, the pop Islamic preacher. Other prominent figures who joined the protest includes Hidayat Nur Wahid, deputy chairman of the House of Representatives.
Basuki later lost the elections to Anies Baswedan and was found guilty, being sentenced to 2 years on 9 May 2017. On the protests' anniversary, a “reunion” was held in the same location, with the organizers claiming an attendance of 7.5 million although officials stated that the number of participants were around 30,000.
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