Political actors suspected of behind violence on Friday’s protest in Jakarta

Indonesian national police have launched an investigation into President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s suspicions that political actors were behind the eruption of violence of the otherwise peaceful protests by Muslim hardliners in Jakarta last Friday, the Jakarta Post Online reported on Monday.

Late Friday after the protests turned violent, President Jokowi issued a stern statement, suggesting that some political actors were taking advantage of the situation.

National Police spokesman Inspector-General Boy Rafli Amar said the probe was part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged provocateurs of the riot.

Over 100,000 people converged in front of the Presidential Palace on Friday demanding criminal prosecution of Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy.

The rally which was peaceful throughout the day turned violent as protesters defined police order to disperse and a small riot occurred later in North Jakarta where many Chinese-Indonesians live.

Police have detained 13 people suspected of allegedly instigating unrest and put 15 others on wanted list.

While police are yet to name any suspected political actors, former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic party which holds less than 10 percent of the seats in the House has already felt the heat.

Party executive Syarieffuddin Hassan has demanded that President Jokowi clarifies his allegation, saying that the allegation was very serious in the middle of a critical situation. He suggested that the alleged political actors might come from Jokowi’s own political circle.

No Democratic Party politicians or people close to Yudhoyono attended the rally but several bigwigs, among them House deputy speakers Fadli Zon of the Gerindra party and Fahri Hamzah of the Prosperous Justice party were seen at the protest site.