Indonesia Deploys 180,000 Police to Protect Christmas Celebrations

Nearly 180,000 police officers have been deployed to protect churches during Christmas.

Newsroom (22/12/2021 12:26 PM, Gaudium Press) Security is being stepped up in churches and public places across Indonesia during this year’s Christmas celebrations to prevent terrorist attacks.

All churches will be open during the Christmas period, allowing Christians to attend mass, despite the threat posed by Covid-19’s Omicron variant and possible attacks by extremists.

According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, there are more than 11,000 Catholic and Protestant churches across Indonesia.

Dozens of suspected Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group members have been arrested by police this month.

Authorities remarked that they do not wish to see fresh terrorist attacks. On Christmas Eve 2000, dozens of churches in Sumatra, Java and West Nusa Tenggara were attacked by the terrorist group, killing 18 people and injuring many others.

A heavy police presence is scheduled to protect churches that have been attacked previously. Among them are St Mary’s Catholic Church and two Protestant churches in Surabaya, East Java, targeted by suicide bombers who killed 19 people in May 2018.

“We will deploy 177,212 police officers during Christmas,” assistant national police chief Imam Sugianto announced yesterday.

Police, he noted, will be assisted by military personnel. The operation will last from December 24 until January 2.

He hopes Catholics will follow the instructions of priests, local security officials and police so they can celebrate Christmas safely.

With information

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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