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Indonesian Police Stop Protesters from Breaking into Parliament Grounds


Police have fired tear-gas to stop anti-American protesters from breaking into Indonesia's parliament grounds. Hundreds of demonstrators were rallying for the third straight day, demanding an end to American-led military action in Afghanistan.

Demonstrators chant anti-American slogans outside the grounds of parliament in Jakarta. Some carry posters of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and banners proclaiming America as a "terrorist nation." Earlier, police had fired tear gas in an effort to disperse them. But the at least 500 Muslim protesters continued to rally.

Across the city, another group of protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy, where hundreds of police and water cannon trucks had been deployed. Earlier in the day, police erected tents to go with the hundreds of meters of razor-wire fence protecting the front of the embassy. The protesters want an end to the American-led military action on suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan. They are calling on Jakarta to suspend diplomatic ties to Washington, as a protest.

Analysts say that is unlikely to happen. Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has pledged "solidarity" with Washington's efforts to combat global terrorism. But, since then, some government officials seem to have backed off that pledge. Officials now say they are "deeply concerned" about the airstrikes, and they want Washington to limit the duration and the scope of its mission in Afghanistan. Earlier in the week, a small radical Islamic group threatened to force out Americans living in Indonesia, if the government refused to comply with its demand to suspend diplomatic ties.

The government says it will not tolerate threats against Americans or other foreign nationals.

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