Thousands rally in Jakarta against US Jerusalem move

Estimated 80,000 protesters call on US president to stop plan to move US embassy to Jerusalem, in largest rally to date.

    Protesters have once again poured on to the streets of several international cities in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians, condemning a US decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

    Eleven days after US President Donald Trump's move, mass rallies were held on Sunday in Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan.

    The biggest demonstration took place in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, where an estimated 80,000 protesters rallied outside the US embassy.

    Waving Palestinian flags, the protesters also called on Trump to stop his plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Al Jazeera's Dessi Arianti, reporting from the massive rally in Jakarta, the fourth since Trump's announcement, said that many of the marchers had travelled from out of town to express their solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

    "Men, women and children, carrying Palestinian flags and banners, condemned the US move while rallying at the National Monument in Jakarta at sunrise on Sunday," Arianti said.

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    "Many people, wearing white Muslim robes, held hands in prayers and called on Israel to leave Palestinian soil. Indonesia has been a long-time supporter of independent Palestine. Protesters called for a resolution to end the conflict and vowed to continue fighting for the cause," our correspondent said.

    Rallies in Ankara and Karachi

    There were similar scenes in Turkey's capital, Ankara, where protesters raised Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanted slogans such as "Jerusalem is ours and will remain so".

    Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the rally, said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as a "potent advocate for the Palestinians", rallying other Muslim countries "to rail against Trump's decision".

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    On Wednesday, Erdogan hosted an extraordinary summit in Istanbul for the 57-strong Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, during which he called Trump's move "dangerous" and labelled Israel a "terrorist state".

    Ghoneim said "Erdogan has a lot of support on the Turkish street", adding that there have been protests throughout the country.

    "I am actually very glad of Trump's Jerusalem decision as it served to unite the Muslim world and get them into action," a male protester holding a Palestinian flag told Al Jazeera. 

    Thousands of demonstrators also gathered in the Pakistani city of Karachi to condemn Trump's decision. 

    Trump's announcement overturned decades of US policy, and a long-standing international consensus, that the fate of Jerusalem be decided as part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.

    Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city's eastern sector form the core of their conflict, and Trump's announcement was seen as siding with the Israelis.

    'Boycott US products'

    Back in Jakarta, Anwar Abbas, a top scholar from the Indonesian Council of Ulema, read a petition calling on Indonesians to stop buying American products until Trump revoked his move.

    "Don't rely on their products," he said, as the crowd - including men, women and children - responded by waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and shouting "boycott!"

    Previous anti-American protests have unsuccessfully lobbied for a boycott of US goods.

    Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said the protesters marched peacefully about 3km from the National Monument Park to the US embassy.

    Some local media reported that the number of demonstrators was double the police estimate.

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    About 20,000 security forces were deployed to secure the rally.

    In the petition, the leaders and scholars urged Trump to immediately revoke his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital because it has hurt international justice, violated Palestinians' human rights and undermined peace efforts.

    It also demanded nations not follow the US in moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and urged the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss Trump's declaration.

    The chairman of the Muslim leaders' council, Ma'ruf Amin, said: "Let's fight together with the government and the world for the freedom of Palestine through political, diplomatic and economic ways."

    Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has strongly condemned Trump's move as a violation of UN resolutions.

    Indonesia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and has long been a strong supporter of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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