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Indonesia-church-protest-main_article_image.jpg
AP photo
World News

Indonesia: Police fire tear gas at protesters outside church

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.

AP photo

Indonesia 
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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