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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 23:56 GMT 00:56 UK
Quiet anniversary for South East Asia
Police outside US embassy in Jakarta
Intelligence indicated a possible attack in Asia
The day of remembrance for the victims of 11 September passed largely undisturbed in South East Asia, despite fears that the anniversary would be marred by terrorist attacks.

The United States had warned the region's governments of potential car bombs, according to the Philippines ambassador to Washington.

Philippine troops guarded the US Embassy, which remained open, but only had to face anti-American protesters waving flowers and calling for Washington to avoid war with Iraq.

McDonald's, the fast-food chain that for many symbolises America, was among US businesses and buildings being carefully watched by police in Thailand.

'Credible' threats

The US closed its embassies in Indonesia and Malaysia, and the British government also temporarily closed its embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Petronas Towers, Malaysia
At the world's tallest twin towers many workers stayed home

The US said its action was in response to "specific and credible" threats and they advised all US citizens in the region to be on their guard.

And in East Timor, the Australian Government shut its embassy until further notice after it received reports of a threat to Australian and United Nations interests there.

Philippines ambassador Albert del Rosario said the warning of car bombs was sent in an "urgent and confidential" letter from US Assistant Secretary of State, James Kelly.

The British ambassador in Jakarta, Richard Gozney, told the BBC that the decision to close the embassy had been a last-minute one, taken late on Tuesday night local time.

He stressed it was not the result of any new specific threat, and he expected the embassy to open again on Thursday.

15 embassies closed

In contrast the US embassy in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim state, would remain closed until further notice.

Philippine soldier
Philippine troops guarded a peace rally at the US Embassy in Manila

The American ambassador in Jakarta, Ralph Boyce, said his decision was based on compelling information of a potential terrorist attack.

"We know the al-Qaeda network is still far from defeated and we have received another graphic example of that in just the past few hours," he told journalists on Tuesday evening.

As a precaution the US closed 15 embassies and consulates around the world including those in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Tajikistan.

The Philippine Government posted additional policemen at British and Israeli embassies as well as airports, seaports and vital facilities across the country.

Fears of an attack were not restricted to diplomatic compounds - at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which stand taller than those destroyed at the World Trade Center, many people did not turn up for work.

See also:

10 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
02 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
01 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
31 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 Sep 02 | Media reports
12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
03 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
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