JAKARTA: Indonesians marched through Jakarta on Sunday, gathering at the National Monument in support of the Palestinians following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The rally, which took place near the heavily barricaded US Embassy, started after morning prayer and ended peacefully at noon.
Some 80,000 protesters participated in the biggest rally so far since Trump’s announcement earlier this month, said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono.
Protesters, many of whom came from other cities, wore the checkered black and white Palestinian scarf.
They waved Indonesian and Palestinian flags, and held up banners expressing solidarity.
Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan, acting House Speaker Fadli Zon and one of his deputies Fahri Hamzah were among public officials on the main stage in front of the monument, as well as celebrities and top clerics from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
Saifuddin said it is a constitutional mandate for the government to consistently assist the Palestinians in their struggle for independence.
“President Joko Widodo reaffirmed at the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Summit in Istanbul recently that every breath of Indonesian diplomacy is to support Palestine’s independence,” Saifuddin told the crowd.
Muslim preacher Bachtiar Nasir said the Palestinian cause goes beyond religion.”This is more a humanitarian, justice and international political issue,” he added.
“Those who came here were not only Muslims. There were nationalists and interfaith groups as well.”
MUI Chairman Ma’ruf Amin asked the crowd what they would do if Trump does not change his mind, and the crowd yelled: “Boycott.”
Amin told Arab News: “We support the struggle to make Palestine an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Achman Giman, coordinator of the Boyolali Muslim Forum, said 257 of its members arrived in Jakarta at 3 a.m. on Sunday after a 14-hour ride from Boyolali in Central Java province.
“There were actually about 700 members who wanted to come, but we couldn’t find enough buses and cars to transport all of us here,” he told Arab News.
“We believe that independence is an inalienable right of all nations, as stated in our constitution, so we’re here to show our support for an independent Palestine,” Giman said.