INDONESIA: Demonstrations turn violent at theological school

For a second consecutive night some 580 students from the Arastamar Evangelical School of Theology (SETIA) in East Jakarta slept in the lobby of Indonesia's parliament following demonstrations against the school that left at least 17 students injured. Urged on by announcements from a mosque loudspeaker to “drive out the unwanted neighbour,” hundreds of protestors shouting “Allahu-Akbar [“God is greater]” and brandishing machetes, sharpened bamboo and acid continued to attack 1,400 students and school staff members even as they were evacuated over the weekend (26-27 July). Besides the students in the parliamentary building, hundreds of others were evacuated to area denominational and medical facilities. The violence took place in spite of the efforts of 400 police officers summoned after tensions erupted on Friday (25 July). Students and school staff taking refuge in the parliament building lobby asked government officials to return them to the college and guarantee their safety there. Key among motives for the attack was that area Muslims felt “disturbed” by the presence of the Christian college. They want it to be moved to another area.

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