World

80,000 Indonesians rally for Palestine

JAKARTA Tens of thousands of Indonesians protested yesterday against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the latest show of support for the Palestinians in the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

The rally was organised by the top Islamic authority, the Indonesian Ulema Council, and supported by the government as well as several other Islamic organisations.

Police said 80,000 protesters gathered at the National Monument, a tower that looms over central Jakarta, waving the Palestine flag and banners reading "Free Palestine" as they chanted "God is greatest!"

"This is my solidarity as a Muslim to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine... the Al-Aqsa mosque, a historical mosque for Muslims, is there (in Jerusalem)," said Ms Hermawati, from the nearby city of Bogor.

Indonesia's religious affairs minister and Jakarta's governor were among those at the protest site just a few metres from the US embassy, which was cordoned off behind coils of razor wire.

"Isn't it the government's job to work on the aspiration of the majority of Indonesians? And the government has tried its best so Palestine can achieve its rights and independence," Religious Affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin told the crowd. - AFP

WORLD