Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Indonesia, Australia and India to rally against Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The demonstrations were held against the offensive, launched in response to a wave of Palestinian rocket attacks, that is believed to have killed more than 400 people so far. Tens of thousands of Indonesian Muslims carrying banners and Palestinian flags staged a peaceful protest in the capital Jakarta, police said.
The demonstrators gathered in the city centre to pray for the safety of Palestinians before marching to the US embassy. The Prosperous Justice Party, which organised the protest, had said it hoped to attract 200,000 people. The party's deputy head Hilman Rosyad Syihab said: "This is to show the world that Indonesians possess solidarity and understand the sufferings of the Palestinians." The group hoped to raise US$200,000 (Dh735,000) for the Palestinians from the rally, he added.
"They want to protest against the Israeli airstrikes. We can handle the large number as long as they don't become aggressive and throw stones or bottles," the national police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira said. There was heavy security for the rally, with about 500 police officers deployed, most of them outside the US embassy, local news website Detikcom reported. Two armoured police vehicles equipped with water cannons also stood by.
In Australia, more than 4,000 Muslims gathered in Sydney to demonstrate against the attacks. In Indian Kashmir, hundreds burnt Israeli flags and chanted anti-Israel and anti-US slogans. Carrying pro-Palestinian banners and portraits of Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, hundreds of Kashmiri Muslims marched through the streets of the summer capital Srinagar chanting, "death to Israel" and "death to US".