JAKARTA: Despite the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of Muslims in Jakarta today staged a demonstration to protest French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statement, which was deemed provocative and disrespectful towards Islam.
The demonstrators gathered around the French embassy in Jakarta with the city recording high positive cases.
The French president had received criticism from various quarters following several actions through his populist speeches and the publication of caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad.
On Oct 31, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, expressed his country’s strong condemnation against Macron’s statement, which has hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world.
According to Metrojaya Police community relations chief (Jakarta Police) Yusri Yunus, almost 8,000 police were deployed to control the peaceful demonstration, apart from controlling demonstrations by thousands of workers protesting against an omnibus law at Merdeka Square and the horse statue near Istana Negara.
The Indonesian parliament recently passed the law on Oct 5, but it is reported that Jokowi has yet to sign it.
A recent series of demonstrations in Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia opposing the law sparked concerns of a demonstration cluster the country recording more than 2,500 new Covid-19 cases daily since August.
According to data posted on the official Twitter page of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency today, a total of 2,618 new positive cases were recorded within 24 hours, bringing the total infections in the republic to 415,402.