Indonesian mob burns churches and attacks police

HUNDREDS of Islamic hardliners have stormed a courthouse and set two churches on fire in central Indonesia to protest what they considered a lenient sentence for a Christian man convicted of blaspheming Islam.

Antonius Richmond Bawengan was found guilty of distributing books and leaflets that “spread hatred about Islam” and sentenced to five years for blasphemy.

Islamic hardliners shouted during the rioting that the man should have received the death penalty.

Anti-riot police fired into the air to disperse the crowd.

Colonel Djahartono, a police spokesman, said the violence broke out today in front of the District Court in Temanggung and then spread to surrounding neighbourhoods.

The mob set two churches on fire and threw rocks at a third. They also torched a police truck.

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