News World Indonesians protest at Australian memorial

Indonesians protest at Australian memorial

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In the city of Balikpapan , about 500 demonstrators from the nationalist Red and White Front expressed outrage at claims Australian spies bugged the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and ministers in 2009.

The continued public fury came despite an easing of tensions between the leaders of Australia and Indonesia, who have pledged to rebuild ties following the worst breakdown in relations for years.

Dressed in military-style uniforms, the protesters gathered at an Australian World War II memorial on Wednesday, calling for a boycott of Australian products and an end to bilateral co-operation.

Australian troops fought near Balikpapan against Japanese forces during the war.

“We think the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been very hypocritical. He thinks it’s OK to spy on Indonesia but do business with us,” said group spokesman Rona Siregar.

“We want to tell Australia we won’t be harassed and we want Abbott to apologise. Tapping the president’s phone is not an act of friendship or co-operation.”

The demonstration followed several others outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta in the past two weeks, including on Wednesday.