Indonesian President cancels Australia trip after violent protests

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters outside the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on November 4, 2016. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)

Story highlights

  • President Widodo cites 'current situation in country' as reason to postpone Australia trip
  • Police estimate 200,000 people marched through Jakarta

(CNN)Indonesian President Joko Widodo has postponed his trip to Australia following the violent protest that erupted Friday in Jakarta.

Widodo informed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of his decision Saturday and instructed his Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to reschedule his visit, according to a statement released from the palace.
    Violent clashes erupted in Jakarta on Friday as protesters demanding the ouster of the city's governor, who has been accused of blasphemy against Muslims, clashed with police, CNN Indonesia reported.
    Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, is alleged to have insulted Islam by criticizing his opponents' use of a Quranic verse in a stump speech. Ahok is a member of Indonesia's Christian minority.
    At least 160 protestors and 79 police officers were injured during the clashes.
    In a press conference held Saturday, Indonesian police said they had detained and were questioning ten people involved in Friday's clashes.

    Protestors call for Ahok's death

    Late on Friday, dozens of protesters attacked police near the Presidential Palace as officers shot tear gas and water cannons overhead. The protesters called for Ahok's death, shouting "kill Ahok" and "kill Ahok for insulting Islam." Some also carried placards demanding his execution.
    Earlier in the day, police estimated 200,000 people marched from Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta to the Presidential palace. The march was largely peaceful.
    The rally started at Istiqlal Mosque and ends at the Presidential palace.
    As many as 18,000 police and military personnel were deployed ahead of Friday's protests, and an inner ring of approximately 100 armed military guards were placed outside the governor's residence, CNN Indonesia reported.
    Police had called on demonstrators to exercise their right to protest and freedom of expression in a peaceful manner.
    In a press conference held after the clashes, President Joko Widodo -- also known as Jokowi -- promised legal actions against Ahok and demanded protesters to "go back to their home where they came from, orderly."
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