JAKARTA, Indonesia – Thousands of Indonesians have joined interfaith rallies around the country organized by the military in an attempt to demonstrate national unity as religious and racial tensions divide the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Police estimated that 30,000 people attended a rally Wednesday at the national monument in Jakarta, the capital, but said half of them were either from the military or police.
Security forces are bracing for a second massive protest by conservatives Muslims in Jakarta on Friday against the city's minority Christian governor, who is being prosecuted for alleged blasphemy. The first protest Nov. 4 turned violent.
Organizers of Wednesday's rallies, led by the military chief, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, also invited students and leaders of the six religions recognized in Indonesia.
Rallies were also held in other big cities.