Tue, 10 Oct 2000

Rallies against Israel continue

JAKARTA (JP): Street rallies to protest the death of scores of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers last week continued in several of the country's cities on Monday.

Besides condemning the Israeli soldiers, the protesters, mostly students, also condemned the United Nations and the United States for failing to come up with a fair resolution to the problem.

None of the rallies were reported to have turned violent.

In Jakarta, dozens of students from the Association of Inter- Campus Muslim Students (HAMMAS) staged a protest in front of the United States embassy on Jl. Merdeka Selatan in Central Jakarta.

The protesters carried banners, one of which read "Palestine, your misery is our misery."

The rally almost turned violent when police personnel hit one of the protesters while they and dozens of police officers were engaged in a shoving match in front of the embassy.

After burning the U.S. and Israeli flags, the students left the scene peacefully.

The capital has witnessed hundreds of Muslims taking to the streets since Friday in order to stage similar protests.

In the East Java capital of Surabaya, around 500 students grouped under the People's Anti-Israel and Anti-America Committee (Kumail) staged a demonstration on Monday morning during which an Israeli flag was burned and orations delivered in front of the U.S. consulate general on Jl. Dr. Soetomo.

The protesters waved posters and banners stating "United States the Fighter of HAM(Burgers)" (HAM is the Indonesian abbreviation for Human Rights), "Go to Hell with Your NATO -- No Action Talk Only", and other signs condemning Israel.

The group, however, failed to meet with officials from the consulate general.

"We call on all activists to protest the violent moves by the Israelis against the Palestinians," said Hairuman, coordinator of the protest.

A similar protest was also staged in front of the consulate on Friday by around 200 students, grouped under the Indonesian Muslim Students Association (KAMMI).

In the Central Java capital of Semarang, some 200 students grouped under the Semarang Muslim Indonesian Students' Association staged rallies around the city on Monday in protest at the protracted conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"We must stick together and boycott all American products as a sign of protest. We declare a war (Jihad) on Zionist Israel.

"Muslims must stick together.. as it is clear that the United Nations and the United States have failed to come up with a fair resolution to the matter. They just ignore it as if nothing has happened," Marzuki, coordinator of the protest, said.

"In a case like Atambua (in East Nusa Tenggara), they (the UN and the United States) are very responsive, but when it is about Israel and Palestine they just keep quiet," he added. (nur/edt/jaw)