Thousands of protesters in
Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia joined rallies on Friday to
condemn Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital, as authorities tightened security outside U.S. embassies.
Leaders in both Asian countries have joined a global chorus of voices condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s move.
Several thousand protesters, some
shouting anti-U.S. slogans and burning an effigy of Trump, gathered in
front of the American embassy in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
In Indonesia, hundreds of protesters
mostly clad in white were arriving outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta,
capital of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.
Some wore checkered scarves and waved Palestinian flags, while others shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).
“We have prepared personnel and patrols
to secure the U.S. embassy. We are expecting between 500 and 1,000
demonstrators,” said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono.
The U.S. embassy in Jakarta advised its
citizens to avoid areas where there were demonstrations and said its
consulate in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya had suspended
public services on Friday.
Indonesia has been a long-running
supporter of the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
and there have been public demonstrations in support of Palestine in
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on
Thursday urged the United States to reconsider its decision and
instructed his foreign minister to summon the U.S. ambassador for an
In Malaysia, leaders from the ruling
party United Malay National Organisation and the popular right wing
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, led the rally and representatives of the
Palestinian Islamist group Hamas are expected to join.
Protests are also expected in South Asia.
Pakistan’s major Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami has announced rallies in all major cities after Friday prayers.
President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem in the coming years.
Protests have already broken out in the
West Bank and the Gaza strip as the Islamist group Hamas urged
Palestinians to launch a fresh uprising against Israel.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Its eastern sector was captured by
Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognised
internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an
independent state they seek.