Thousands of protesters in Muslim-majority countries in Asia rallied on Friday to condemn the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as authorities tightened security outside U.S. embassies.
Leaders in both Indonesia and Malaysia have joined a global chorus of condemnation of President Donald Trump's decision.
Protesters, some shouting anti-U.S. slogans and burning an effigy of Trump, gathered in front of the American embassy in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
In Indonesia, a few hundred demonstrators mostly clad in white rallied outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, capital of the world's biggest Muslim-majority country.
Some wore checkered scarves and waved Palestinian flags.
"We're standing here in the name of justice and humanity. We’ve gathered to defend our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” said one rally leader in Jakarta.
The Jakarta rally was peaceful and the number of demonstrators appeared far lower than the 500 to 1,000 police had anticipated.
The U.S. embassy in Jakarta advised its citizens to avoid demonstrations and said its consulate in Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya had suspended public services on Friday.
A small group of students rallied in the city of Makassar on Indonesia's Sulawesi island and set fire to U.S. and Israeli flags, media reported.
In Bangladesh, about 3,000 people gathered in front of the main mosque in the capital, Dhaka, to protest.
Members of the Bangladesh Islamic Chhatra Mojlish, a student organization, burned pictures of Trump.
In Indian-administered Kashmir, small groups of people protested in Srinagar, the capital of the Muslim-majority region.
"We condemn the idiot Trump’s decision,” said a placard on an effigy of the U.S. president.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday called on Muslims worldwide to strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
In Kuala Lumpur, leaders from the ruling party United Malay National Organization and the right-wing Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, both of which represent majority, ethnic-Malay Muslims, led Friday's rally of several thousand people.
"Mr President, this is an illegal announcement. Jerusalem is an occupied territory," Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin said through a loud hailer towards the embassy.
The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
Trump said on Wednesday the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem in the coming years.
Protests have erupted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians to launch a fresh uprising against Israel.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Its eastern sector was captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state they seek.
Hundreds of Iranians also took part in rallies across the country.
Iran regards Palestine as comprising all of the holy land, including the Jewish state, which it does not recognise. It has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and backs several Islamic militant groups in their fight against Israel.
Describing the United States and Israel as oppressors, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Trump's decision was a sign of incompetence and failure.
Protests also took place in Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Tunisia.
Thumbnail Credits : Reuters