Wed, Aug 29, 2007
Hundreds in anti-M'sia protests in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Aug 29, 2007 (AFP) - Scores of Indonesian youths held anti-Malaysian street rallies in several cities Wednesday to protest the assault of a karate referee by Malaysian police last week.

In the capital Jakarta, more than 150 members of the Pancasila Youth (PP), a pro-government outfit, noisily protested in front of the Malaysian embassy, causing heavy traffic jams.

"Ganyang (Crush) Malaysia!", a popular phrase during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation of the 1960s, was among the crowd's anti-Malaysian chants.

Speakers called on Kuala Lumpur to apologise over the incident, which allegedly involved four plain clothes police attacking Indonesian referee Donald Kolobita as they hunted for illegal immigrants.

The crowd disbanded peacefully but then took their protest to parliament, where they called for Jakarta to cut diplomatic relations with Malaysia if no apology was issued.

The assault led to Indonesia's karate team withdrawing from the international competition they were attending and has sparked an outcry in Indonesia, which sends thousands of workers to its neighbour each year.

Malaysia's foreign minister and police chief met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday and pledged to bring the culprits to justice, but stopped short of apologising.

The PP chapter in Surabaya, Indonesia's second city, meanwhile protested at an upmarket hotel demanding that all Malaysian guests leave the establishment, the city and the country.

Hotel security personnel and police prevented about 70 protestors from entering the hotel, ElShinta radio said.

In North Sumatra's Medan, about 70 protestors from the same group rallied in front of the Malaysian consulate, accusing Malaysia of "insulting Indonesia" and demanding that the police responsible be quickly punished.

Anti-Malaysian sentiment has been on the rise here following several reports of Indonesian maids being abused by their Malaysian employers.

At least 1.5 million Indonesians are employed in neighbouring Malaysia, mostly as housemaids and unskilled workers, with many more working there without proper papers or permits.

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Hundreds in anti-M'sia protests in Indonesia