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US, France close diplomatic missions in Indonesia

Publication Date : 22-09-2012

 

The United States and France closed their diplomatic missions across Indonesia yesterday, in anticipation of protests against an anti-Islam movie.

Security was tight as hundreds of policemen were deployed around the embassies of the two countries in Jakarta.

Police spokesman Suhardi Alius told reporters in Jakarta that they would not hesitate to disperse protesters if there was any sign of violence.

Indonesia stepped up security after protesters hurled petrol bombs and clashed with the police outside the US Embassy on Monday. Eleven policemen were reported to have been injured in Monday's violence.

Yesterday, the US Embassy in Jakarta was ringed with barbed wire and a water cannon was seen parked outside the compound's main gate.

At 2.30pm, about 50 protesters staged a demonstration outside the compound, carrying banners that read "Don't insult our Prophet" and "Destroy America".

The crowd also condemned cartoons of Prophet Muhammad that were published in a French magazine on Wednesday.

There were no other major protests in Jakarta.

In Surabaya, East Java, more than 500 protesters gathered outside the US consulate, demanding the arrest of and death sentence for the film-maker.

The crowd then marched through the road leading to a McDonald's outlet and sealed the entrance to the restaurant with tape, imprinted with the slogans "Death to the film-makers" and "Boycott American products".

They then marched to a Pizza Hut and KFC outlet, and Surabaya's French Cultural Centre.

Outside the French Cultural Centre, the protesters chanted: "Crush America, crush France."

No casualties were reported, and the city returned to normal at around 4pm local time.

In Yogyakarta, Central Java, about 300 protesters rallied at Gadjah Mada University.

They called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to speak up and demand that the US arrest the man in California who made the anti-Islam film and posted it on the Internet.

 

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