Thousands Protest Against Israel in Indonesia

Jakarta - Thousands of Indonesians on Friday staged protest rallies in various cities across the world's most populous Moslem nation. In the capital Jakarta, more than 10,000 people from various Islamic organizations staged a protest rally at outside the United Nations office in downtown city before proceeding to the U. S. embassy.

The protesters, organized by the Anti-Zionist Group Movement, or GAZA, started their rally shortly after Friday prayer at Al Ahzar Mosque in south Jakarta. Initially, their number was only about 5,000 but hours later, more people joined the rally and police estimated that the number rose to more than 10,000 by late afternoon. The crowd chanted anti-Israeli slogans and waved anti-Zionist banners, eyewitnesses said.

As the protesters arrived at front of the UN office, the demonstrators burned an Israeli flag and then proceeded to the U.S. embassy, about 400-meters away. A representative of the protesters tried to meet with officials at the UN office to convey their protest against the world's body for discrimination against Palestinian cause. Security was tight and there were no reports of violence.

Similar anti-Israeli demonstration also took place in several other Indonesian cities. In east Jakarta capital of Surabaya, more than 500 Moslem youths staged a protest rally outside the U.S consulate. In central Java city of Solo, about 1,000 Moslem protestors also burned Israeli flags in another protest, local media reports said. Another Israeli flag was also torched in north Sumatra capital of Medan.

Indonesia contains the world's largest Islamic community, with nearly 90 per cent of its 210 million people being Moslems. Jakarta has always backed the Palestinian cause.