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Indonesia: Police fire tear gas at protesters outside church

Fri 24 Mar 2017
By Premier Journalist

Indonesian police fired tear gas in order to disperse a group of hard-line Muslim protesters outside a church in Bekasi, Indonesia.

According to the Associated Press, several hundred protesters from the group called Forum for Bekasi Muslim Friendship staged the demonstration to protest against the building of the Santa Clara church.

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Population: 263.5 million (31.9 million Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Open Doors' World Watch List Rank: 46
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world.
Mass protests against Governor Ahok of Jakarta, a Chinese Christian, for alleged blasphemy brought more than 200,000 people to the streets in 2016. 


The church has been under construction since November.

Eye Witnesses told AP that the protesters had tried to force their way into the property and threw rocks and bottles at the building before police fired the tear gas.

AP photo

Police officers form a defensive formation during a clash with Muslim hardliners


Local priest Fr Raymundus Sianipar was advised by police to leave the area for his own safety.

The church has been the target of protests since it received a construction permit in June 2015.

AP photo

Tear gas disperses the crowd


Last year, the demonstrators sealed off the church and demanded the permit be revoked.

Approximately 12,000 Catholics live in Beksai.

Indonesia is number 46 on Open Doors' World Watch List for Christian persecution.

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