Thousands of Indonesians protest war plans
JAKARTA: In the biggest anti-American protest yet in the world’s most populous Muslim country, tens of thousands of Indonesians on Sunday staged a peaceful protest against a possible US attack on Iraq.
Local media estimated the size of the crowd at up to 100,000.
Many women wearing traditional Muslim headscarves and carrying babies and children marched through downtown Jakarta, the country’s capital. They waved banners reading: “Stop War, Save Iraq,” and “No more blood.”
Others held their arms up in prayer and chanted: “There is no God but Allah,” as they gathered in front of their last stop at the US Embassy.
Opposition to a war with Iraq remains high in Indonesia and protests against it have gone on for months. Indonesia opposes a US-led strike on Iraq as the United Nations has not endorsed such action.
“I need to show my solidarity. I feel strongly touched by this issue,” Ina Muminah, 34, who brought her five small children to the rally.
Muslim leaders have blasted US President George W. Bush saying he is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein for threatening war with Iraq and that an attack could result in thousands of Muslim deaths.
“It seems that US President George W. Bush is afraid of losing face if he fails to attack Iraq,” said Hidayat Nurwahid, the head of the Justice Party, a moderate Muslim party which organized the rally.
“The attack is a crime against humanity which should be protected by the international communities,” the party head told the crowd from the back of a pickup truck. —AP