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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Protests staged far beyond Palestine over US stance on Jerusalem

Thousands take part in demonstrations across the Middle east and Asia

Protests were held across the Middle East and in Asia on Friday to condemn US president Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

As Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces for a second day after midday prayers, thousands protesters marched in Amman, Cairo, Beirut and Tehran chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans.

In Jordan, demonstrators marched through the centre of Amman with posters of King Abdullah II and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest site. "Jerusalem is Arab", and "America is the head of the snake," they chanted.

The Jordanian king is the religious guardian of the shrine, and the kingdom has a large Palestinian population.

More than 5,000 Lebanese and Palestinians marched through the streets of Beirut from the Imam Ali mosque in the western neighborhood of Tareeq Jadeedeh to a cemetery where hundreds of Palestinians, including commanders, are buried.

In Cairo, hundreds of people protested at the Al Azhar mosque in the Egyptian capital, shouting "Down with Israel," ''We sacrifice our blood and souls for Palestine."

Turkey saw demonstrations outside mosques in the capital, Ankara, and other cities. More than 3,000 people gathered outside a mosque in Istanbul's conservative Fatih district after Friday prayers and marched toward a park waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans protesting the United States and Israel.

Small crowds also held demonstrations across the street from the heavily protected US Embassy.

Protests were also staged in the Afghan capital Kabul and the cities of Herat and Kunduz. The US has several thousand troops in Afghanistan as part of a Nato mission to train and support Afghan security forces.

In neighbouring Pakistan, rallies took place in the capital Islamabad, the port city of Karachi, in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province, and in Multan.

Several hundred people also staged protests in India's Muslim-majority Kashmir region, where local leaders have called Mr Trump's move "anti-Muslim".

Effigies of Mr trump were burnt during protests in Malaysia, where about 5,000 demonstrators marched on the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, chanting and waving banners that read "Hands off Jerusalem" and "Down USA President Trump".

In neighbouring Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, several hundred people demonstrated outside the US embassy in Jakarta, carrying placards that said "No to Trump" and unfurling a large Palestinian flag.