Activists intend to hold a demonstration in Bandung (West Java province) on Wednesday, November 4, to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron's defense of cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad and his reference to Islamist terrorism. Participants are reportedly set to gather from 11:30 (local time) and march from Gedung Sate to Gedung Merdeka. The rally may be well attended.
A heightened police presence is expected in the vicinity of the demonstration, with disruptions to transportation and business likely.
Tensions over the response of the French government to recent Islamist attacks and terrorism in the country have been increasing since the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16. The attack prompted an outpouring of support in France and a strong response from the government which saw dozens arrested and several organizations and mosques closed in a widespread crackdown on alleged Islamic extremism. However, comments from President Emmanuel Macron regarding religious rights and freedom of expression and the display of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at solidarity rallies following the attack have since prompted accusations of Islamophobia from several Muslim political and religious leaders around the world.
Those in Bandung are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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