JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesians enraged over an anti-Islam film hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Monday, in the first violence in the world’s most populous Muslim country since outrage exploded last week in the Middle East and beyond.
Eleven police officers were hospitalized after being pelted with rocks and attacked with bamboo sticks, said Jakarta police chief Maj. Gen. Untung Rajab. Four protesters were arrested and at least one hospitalized.
Protesters burned a picture of President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood living here. They also tried to torch a fire engine parked outside the embassy, ripping a hose from the vehicle and igniting it, which sent plumes of black smoke billowing skyward.
Molotov cocktails exploded against a fence surrounding the compound as police used a bullhorn to call for calm and deployed water cannons and tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.
“We will destroy America like this flag,” a protester screamed while burning a U.S. flag. “We will chase away the American ambassador from the country.”
The demonstration started peacefully as several hundred protesters from the Islamic People’s Forum and the Front of Islamic Defenders, many dressed in white, marched toward the diplomatic mission. The protesters paused to observe afternoon prayers about 100 meters (yards) outside the embassy, then resumed the rally. They threw rocks at riot police, who used shields to push the crowd back.