JAKARTA, Feb 3 (Reuters) – About 300 militant Indonesian Muslims went on a rampage inside the lobby of a Jakarta building housing the Danish embassy on Friday in protest over cartoons that Muslims say insult Islam and the Prophet Mohammad.
Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest), the white-clad protesters from the hardline Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) smashed lamps with bamboo sticks and threw chairs around in anger at cartoons originally published by a Danish daily.
They also threw rotten eggs and tomatoes at the Danish embassy symbol inside the lobby. The embassy is on the 25th floor of the building and protesters were unable to get past security in the lobby, a Reuters photographer said.
Outrage has erupted in the Middle East after more European newspapers published the cartoons, which were originally published by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten last September. Muslims consider any images of Mohammad to be blasphemous.
About 100 Indonesian policemen watched the FPI protesters as they made fiery speeches calling on the government of the world’s most populous Muslim nation to sever diplomatic ties with Denmark and evict its ambassador.
The protesters dispersed after an hour. There were no arrests.
Newspapers in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Hungary have reprinted the caricatures this week, saying press freedom was more important than the protests and boycotts they have provoked.
Many Arab commentators said the European defence rings hollow because, they said, European media protected Judaism and Israel from criticism.