JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — More than a thousand Muslims rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia’s capital on Friday to denounce American support for Israel and demand an end to Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
The protesters marched from several mosques after Friday prayers to a major street outside the embassy, which was under heavy police guard. They halted traffic along the way as they chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great,” and “Save Palestinians.”
Authorities with loudspeakers warned protesters to maintain social distancing during the demonstration, organized by the Islamic Student Association and several other groups, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 3,000 police, many wearing hazmat suits, were deployed to secure the embassy and the nearby presidential palace and United Nations mission.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel and there is no Israeli embassy in the country. It has long been a strong supporter of the Palestinians, and President Joko Widodo has condemned the Israeli airstrikes.
Media reports said similar protests were held Friday in at least 10 provincial capitals and cities across Indonesia.
Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire that took effect Friday, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill.
At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, and 1,710 people were wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed in rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.
Niniek Karmini And Fadlan Syam, The Associated Press