Anti-U.S. protests in Jakarta turn violent
(CNN) -- Indonesia has become the latest country in Asia to be hit by violent protests as the backlash against the U.S.-led strikes over Afghanistan spreads.
On Wednesday as many as 600 students tried to knock down the main gate leading into the parliament building in the capital, Jakarta, as they gathered for a third day of protests.
Hundreds of riot police were deployed on the scene to prevent them entering the building.
Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, has been hit by a series of small but vocal anti-U.S. protests since the Afghan bombing campaign began on Sunday.
Militant Islamic groups have also threatened to "sweep" or expel Americans living in the country.
Angry over the government's cautious stance on raids over Afghanistan, they are demanding that Indonesia breaks ties with the United States.
But Indonesian security forces say they will not tolerate any more violence.
On Tuesday police fired warning shots and tear gas and used water cannon to break up demonstrations.
The Jakarta rally comes in the wake of protests in Pakistan, where five people have been killed in protests since the American strikes began.
Pakistan's government, like that of Indonesia is caught between trying to balance Muslim concerns about the U.S.-led attacks against the need to maintain ties with the West.
The South Asian nation, once sanctioned by Washington for its nuclear ambitions, is now playing a crucial role in helping the U.S.-led war on terrorism, providing both intelligence and the use of "limited" air corridors for American planes.
But angry about what they see as attacks against their religion, Islamic groups in Pakistan have called on Muslims to rise in jihad, or holy war, against the U.S.-led attacks.
Tensions have been particularly high in towns close to the border with Afghanistan which are home to several pro-Taliban groups.
Five protesters have been killed during street rallies over the past two days in Pakistan, with officials firing shots after protesters burned a police station, attacked police officials and looted buildings.
Police are under orders to use live rounds if they feel they have to fire in self-defense, but officials said on Wednesday the protests seemed to be becoming smaller and quieter.
This could in part be due to authorities barring protesters from entering major cities, and arresting several pro-Taliban leaders in a bid to prevent further street protests.
Pakistan's nuclear foe India, too, has been the scene of protests, with some of the country's leftist groups staging anti-war protests in several cities this week, including one in Calcutta.
India has watched with growing alarm as Islamabad has become a close ally of Washington.
New Delhi has been urging Washington to acknowledge what it says is the role Pakistan has played in harboring militants accused of killing thousands in India.
The Left parties have slammed the Indian government, headed by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, for offering bases to the United States for the strikes against Afghanistan.
Several Indian communist parties have said they will hold rallies across the country Friday in protest against the strikes and will demand that the United States fight its case against bin Laden according to international law.
The South Asian nation country of Bangladesh, another mostly Muslim country, has not been exempt from the rallies.
Earlier this week more than 1,000 activists from an Islamic party took to the streets to voice their anger following the strikes on targets in Afghanistan.
They waved portraits of bin Laden and burned American flags and an effigy of President Bush.
Jumping on the anti-terror bandwagon, Bangladesh had offered the United States the use of its airspace, ports and other facilities in the event of an attack on Afghanistan.
Bangladesh's communist party has opposed Dhaka's decision to let the United States use Bangladeshi facilities. They see it as a bid to undermine the country's independence and sovereignty.
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