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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Tear gas fired in Jakarta protest
protesters outside the US embassy in Jakarta
Protesters want the government to cut ties with the US
Police fired tear gas as up to 1,000 Muslim students tried to knock down the main gate to Indonesia's parliament in the third day of protests against US-led strikes against Afghanistan.

Protester outside the US embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday
The protests are still relatively small
Witnesses said the demonstrators tried to break through police lines and push over the main gate.

There were more protests outside the tightly-guarded US embassy, and witnesses said police hit several people with batons.

In a separate incident, explosives experts carried out a controlled explosion on a suspected parcel bomb sent to a private house in central Jakarta, close to the British embassy, officials said.

There has been a series of unexplained bombings in the capital in recent years, and police said this incident was not linked to the protests.

They also said the parcel was found not to have contained any explosives, and at most, may have contained fireworks.

Outside the US embassy, scene of vocal protests following the launch of US military action, dozens of police in full riot gear were standing by, following Tuesday's incident in which they fired warning shots and tear gas to break up the protests.

About 300 mainly women university students demonstrated in front of newly-reinforced barbed-wire barricades.

Caution

The students were demanding that Indonesia - which has the world's largest Muslim population - break ties with the US over the air strikes on Afghanistan. They are angry at the government's cautious backing of the military action.


We are not using the word 'regret', and especially not 'condemn'

Acting Foreign Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra
"The Muslim world must condemn the US terrorists," the demonstrators said in a statement.

Some of the students called for a "jihad", or holy war. Some set US flags on fire.

Hardline Islamic groups have threatened to round up and expel Americans and other foreigners unless the government opposes the US-led military action. But their views are in the minority.

Our correspondent in Jakarta says the protests have not become as widespread as the authorities had feared, with demonstrators in the hundreds rather than the thousands. Some embassies are starting to re-open.

Dilemma

The government is caught between trying to balance Muslim concerns about the attacks against the country's need for good relations with the West. The government has not condemned the strikes, but has not overwhelmingly backed them either, warning of civilian casualties.

A student protester holds an American flag and an anti-US sign in Manila
Students in the Philippines were protesting too
"We are using the word 'concern'. We are not using the word 'regret', and especially not 'condemn'," said Acting Foreign Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra on Wednesday.

President Megawati Sukarnoputri was the first Muslim leader to visit Washington in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks, when she gave her support to President Bush's war on terrorism. But she has not publicly commented on the air strikes

There have sporadic protests across the Asia-Pacific region.

In the Philippines on Wednesday about 50 protesters staged a rally outside the US embassy in Manila to denounce the government for supporting the US coalition.

Their banners read: "No to US-led war" and "Justice not war".

Scores of riot police were at the scene but there was no violence.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Muslim anger in Indonesia
09 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Asian nations react to bombings
09 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian protests turn violent
08 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Security stepped up in Indonesia
08 Oct 01 | Americas
Americans urged to stay vigilant
03 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Anti-US anger in Indonesia
25 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia clerics threaten jihad
02 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Megawati condemns anti-US 'sweep'
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