Indonesian police: Treason suspects planned to incite chaos

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2016 7:50 AM
Indonesian police: Treason suspects planned to incite chaos

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police arrested 10 people including prominent citizens for suspected treason and other crimes and said they were planning to use a mass protest in the capital on Friday to cause chaos and overthrow the government.

The second major protest by conservative Muslims against the minority Christian governor of Jakarta drew some 200,000 people to the city's streets and ended peacefully. The governor, an ally of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, is being prosecuted for blasphemy, a criminal offense in predominantly Muslim Indonesia.

Police made the arrests at homes and a hotel on Friday before the protest began and said they had stepped up their investigation of the group over the past three weeks.

The eight arrested for alleged treason include Rachmawati, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president and the younger sister of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri; retired army Gen. Kivlan Zein; and musician-turned-politician Ahmad Dani.

Two people were arrested for suspected breaches of the electronic information and transactions law.

"They intended to incite people to overthrow the legitimate government using today's mass rally," said National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar. "They planned to seize the Parliament building."

Police did not comment on how extensive or sophisticated the plot was. There was a heavy police and military presence in Jakarta for Friday's protest.

Many of those arrested are known as critics of Jokowi, who defeated a candidate from the political establishment in a 2014 election to become president.

Jokowi had said a Nov. 4 protest against Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama that turned violent was the result of political actors taking advantage of the situation. He didn't name anyone.

Amar said one of the group's aims was to restore Indonesia's original constitution, which provided for the president to be elected by Parliament, rather than a national poll.