ACEH SINGKIL, Indonesia (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) — Violent clashes broke out after a demonstration on October 6th by an Islamic youth group demanding that the local government tear down a number of churches that they claimed had been built illegally without permits. They threatened to tear down the churches themselves if their demands were not met.
The local government agreed to demolish at least 13 churches in Aceh Singkil and force the churches to register for new permits to build churches. They also decided to force the Christian community to adhere to a 1979 agreement which stated that only one church and four chapels can be built in Aceh Singkil. However the group took matters into their own hands. After the first church was burned down, they clashed with Christians at another church.
The police and the military were deployed to restore order and the attack on the churches was condemned by President Joko Widodo.
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