JAKARTA - Indonesian authorities arrested 10 suspects for dissident activities and charged eight of them with treason, police spokesman Colonel Rikwanto said on Friday (Dec 2).
He did not name the suspects but identified nine of them by the initials AD, E, AD, KZ, FH, RA, JA, RK and SB.
Colonel Rikwanto said investigations are still ongoing but National Police Chief Tito Karnavian will provide more details later in the day.
A source familiar with the investigations told The Straits Times that the suspects include prominent figures in Indonesian politics and activists, including some who have been vocal against President Joko Widodo and his close ally Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is running for re-election as Jakarta Governor.
The suspects were apparently rounded up between 3am and 6am local time on Friday (between 4am and 7am Singapore time) , just before tens of thousands of Muslims began making their way to the National Monument (Monas) for a protest against Mr Basuki for blasphemy.
The rally, which started at 8am local time, is the third organised by the National Fatwa Guardians of the Indonesian Ulema Council (GNPF-MUI) and led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
The first protest against Mr Basuki, popularly known as Ahok, was held in October, just weeks after a video clip of the Chinese-Christian politician was posted online. In the video, he allegedly told voters not to be misled by his opponents, who cited a verse in the Quran to urge Muslims not to vote for a non-Muslim.
The second rally on Nov 4 in Jakarta, which saw an estimated 100,000 protestors including many from outside Jakarta, started out peacefully but descended into a riot later at night.
President Joko and National Police Chief Tito Karnavian had said after the last protest that there were dissident elements at play during the rally.
They also hinted that there may be individuals or groups using the street rallies to go against the government and warned against trying to mount coup.