flag burning indonesia.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Thousands of Indonesians rallied across the world's most populous Muslim nation Sunday to protest the fortieth anniversary of Israel's Six Day War victory - and the ensuing "occupation" of territories claimed by the Palestinians - some carrying banners that read, "Israel is the enemy" and "Save our Palestine."
Police estimated that crowds swelled to 10,000 in the two largest cities of Jakarta and Medan, where demonstrators clad in flowing white gowns waved flags and accused Israel of human rights abuses.
Hidayat Nur Wahid, the speaker of Indonesia's consultative assembly, said after addressing protesters that he believed the existence of a Palestinian state would considerably boost security across the globe.
"If a peaceful and free Palestine country existed, I think 60 percent of international security problems would be resolved," he told local television. "This is why Indonesia has to be involved in bringing peace to Palestine."
Smaller anti-Israel rallies were held in at least six major cities and towns across Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and home to nearly 190 million mostly moderate Muslims.
Officials called on the United Nations and the United States to pressure Israel to fully withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to release all Palestinian prisoners.
Indonesia has long supported Palestinian independence efforts and does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.