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Indonesians protest against Iraq war

The protest was the largest anti-war rally yet in Indonesia
The protest was the largest anti-war rally yet in Indonesia

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Over 50,000 people crowded the streets of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta Sunday to protest the United States' threat of military action against Iraq.

Turnout at the three-hour demonstration, organized by the Muslim Justice Party, was significantly higher than past anti-war protests in the Indonesian capital, which have drawn about 5,000 people.

The protesters marched through the center of the city and massed outside the gates of the U.S. Embassy.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, wants to give more time for United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq and does not support a U.S.-led military campaign against Baghdad.

The protest was largely non-violent, although there was strong security presence on the streets with hundreds of police wielding shields and batons guarding the entrance to the embassy.

Muslim leaders in Indonesia have condemned U.S. President George W. Bush with some saying that he is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein for threatening war with Iraq that could result in thousands of Muslim deaths.

"It seems that U.S. President George W. Bush is afraid of losing face if he fails to attack Iraq," said Hidayat Nurwahid, the head of the moderate Muslim Justice Party, which organized the rally.

"The attack is a crime against humanity which should be protected by the international communities," he said in a speech to assembled protesters.


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