Asian countries protest Trump's decision on Jerusalem

This article is more than 12 months old

Protesters rallied in Muslim-majority Asian cities yesterday to voice their anger over a controversial decision by United States President Donald Trump to reverse a longstanding policy and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Thousands took to the streets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan yesterday, echoing condemnation from world leaders who say Mr Trump's decision could have grave repercussions for security and stability, as well as derail counter-terrorism efforts.

In Kuala Lumpur, more than 1,000 people, led by Malaysian political parties Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), thronged the main thoroughfare of Jalan Tun Razak to demand Mr Trump retract the decision.

The crowd chanted, "Long Live Palestine! Long Live Islam" and held up anti-Trump and anti-Zionist banners as they marched, bringing traffic to a standstill. An effigy of Mr Trump was also set on fire.

"Mr President, this is an illegal announcement. Jerusalem is an occupied territory," Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the crowd.

Malaysian opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan also handed over a memorandum of protest to the US embassy in KL.

Mr Khairy handed in a letter that said the move would "intensify the radicalisation of extremists and further create instability in the Middle East".

In Jakarta, the turnout of a few hundred was lower than expected, after a planned street march from the Palestinian embassy to the US mission was cancelled as police refused to issue a permit for it.

Among the protestors were members of the Al Aqsa Working Group, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Islamic Defenders Front, who gathered outside the US embassy from about 10am local time, carrying placards that read "Jerusalem is not Israel's capital" and "We are with Palestine".

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the sermon delivered at Friday prayers called for peace, tranquillity and security in the world, including in the Middle East, and asked for guidance in finding peaceful solutions for those conflicts.

In Bangladesh, about 3,000 people gathered in front of the main mosque in the capital Dhaka to protest, Reuters reported.

Smaller protests broke out in Pakistan's major cities including Lahore and Peshawar, as well as in Kashmir, the divided Muslim-majority region that is claimed by both India and Pakistan.