Demonstrators storm Australian Embassy in Jakarta over espionage


JAKARTA: Demonstrators in military-style uniforms protested outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, as the Indonesian president weighed his response to a letter from Prime Minister Tony Abbott aimed at calming a row over spying.

Allegations that Australian spies tried to listen to the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and his ministers in 2009 has sparked an escalating diplomatic crisis.

“Australia must apologise publicly and the ambassador must leave this country,” read one of the banners carried by some 100 protesters.

Last week, hundreds of demonstrators pelted eggs and rotten tomatoes at the embassy.

Abbott has so far refused to apologise over the scandal, further infuriating Jakarta.

Yudhoyono sent a letter to the Australian leader demanding he fully explain the allegations. Abbot replied but there was no indication of the letter’s content.

Speaking ahead of the meeting on Tuesday between the Indonesian president, Vice President Boediono, the recalled ambassador, and other ministers at the presidential palace in Jakarta, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha hinted that Jakarta was satisfied

“The response from Prime Minister Abbott certainly was in accordance with our expectations,” he told reporters.

The alleged spying was first revealed by Australian media last week, which based its reports on leaked documents from US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden.



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