JAKARTA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Muslims marched from the main mosque in Indonesia’s capital to a square in Jakarta on Sunday to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It was the biggest protest in Indonesia since Trump’s controversial move earlier this month to reverse decades of U.S. policy. Police estimated the number attending the rally, organized by various Muslim groups, at about 80,000.
The protest was peaceful but rows of police behind coils of barbed wire held back the crowd outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. A police spokesman said 20,000 police and members of the military were deployed to ensure security.
“We urge all countries to reject the unilateral and illegal decision of President Donald Trump to make Jerusalem Israel’s capital,” Anwar Abbas, the secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council, told the crowd.
“We call on all Indonesian people to boycott U.S. and Israel products in this country” if Trump does not revoked his action, Abbas said, reading from a petition due to be handed to the U.S. ambassador in Indonesia.
Many of the protesters were clad in white and waved Palestinian flags and held up placards, some reading: “Peace, love and free Palestine”.
There have been a series of protests in Indonesia over the issue, including some where hardliners burned U.S. and Israeli flags.
The status of Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is one of the biggest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Jerusalem’s eastern sector was captured by Israel in a 1967war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state that they seek, while Israel maintains that all of Jerusalem is its capital.
Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Paul Tait