The Jakarta Post
Thousands of Muslims flocked to the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta on Friday morning to join the Aksi Indonesia Bebaskan Baitul Maqdis (Indonesia for the Liberation of Jerusalem) rally to protest the planned May 14 relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Several Islamic groups, including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islam Defenders Troop (LPI), joined the protest, which started around 4 a.m. at Istiqlal Mosque and is scheduled to finish at around 1 p.m. after the mass Friday prayer planned at Monas.
The protesters represented all age groups, with several families spotted at Monas Park leading underage and school-age children to join the protest.
Jakarta Sanitation Agency and Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency vehicles were parked at several locations in the vicinity to provide clean water and toilet facilities for the protesters.
Dozens of Jakarta Police officers were stationed around Monas, which is located near the US Embassy and the Presidential Palace, and were diverting traffic from the area.
“We are anticipating the protest, which will be held in Monas and at Istiqlal Mosque,” Jakarta Police spokesman Comr. Argo Yuwono said on Friday, as reported by kompas.com.
The US Embassy in Jakarta has restricted its operations and reduced staff for the day, closing passport, notarial and visa services. The embassy also issued an alert to all US citizens in Jakarta to take precautions during the protest. (ami)