US to Close Indonesia Missions Friday Over Film
All US diplomatic missions in Indonesia will be closed Friday amid the threat of “significant demonstrations” on the Muslim holy day over an anti-Islam film, the American Embassy said on Thursday.
The low-budget American film, “Innocence of Muslims” has sparked furious demonstrations across the Muslim world, including Indonesia where protesters on Monday hurled Molotov cocktails outside the embassy in the capital Jakarta.
US diplomatic missions in Jakarta and three other cities will be closed on Friday “because of the potential for significant demonstrations that might be held in front of these facilities”, the embassy said in a statement.
“We advise, as always, that people should avoid large crowds and other gatherings that might turn violent,” it added.
Officials said 11 policemen and a protester were wounded in Monday’s unrest, one of several protests to hit the world’s most populous Muslim nation, in which police used water cannon and tear gas to control some 700 demonstrators, mostly from hard-line Islamic groups.
Australia on Thursday also issued a safety warning to its citizens in Indonesia about the protests, urging them to “maintain a high level of vigilance and security awareness.”
France also was bracing for trouble, saying embassies, consulates, cultural centers and international French schools in around 20 Muslim countries will remain closed on Friday.
The announcement came amid fears of retaliatory violence following a satirical French weekly’s publication of cartoons featuring obscene images of Prophet Muhammed.