Saturday, March 6, 2010

Indonesian students protest Barack Obama's visit

An Indonesian Muslim student defaces a mask of U.S. president Barack Obama during a protest against his planned visit outside the parliament in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 5, 2010. Obama is scheduled to travel later this month to the world's most populous Muslim country where he lived as a boy.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Scores of Islamic students staged protests outside Jakarta's parliament and in at least three other major Indonesian cities on Friday against President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to this predominantly Muslim country.

The students carried banners branding Obama as an enemy of Islam and an imperialist in downtown Jakarta as well as in the provincial capitals Padang, Yogyakarta and Surabaya.

They also threw shoes at large pictures of Obama's head. An Iraqi journalist was sentenced to a year in prison for throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in 2008.

Protest organizer Ahmad Irhamul Fikri, spokesman for the Coordinating Board for Campus Proselytizing Institute, said bigger rallies will be staged next Friday in more Indonesian cities ahead of Obama's March 20-22 visit.