Mataram/Jakarta. Less than a week after major protests were held in front of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, a crowd of more than a hundred people gathered in front of the Central Lombok district chief’s office on Monday to demanding the central government to take firm action against Australia over spying allegations.
The protesters, who called the spying an insult to Indonesia, threatened to raid Australian nationals in the area, a popular tourism destination, and force them out of Central Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara.
“There is no other way than to revoke all forms of cooperation with Australia. There should be no bargaining whatsoever. Sever ties with the country that has insulted Indonesia,” said Zamroni Aziz, coordinator of the protest.
Protesters threatened to boycott products coming from Australia and its allies, while Zamroni, in his speech, called on the government to ensure the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) invested maximum effort in protecting the country’s intelligence system.
The group also demanded that the government offer Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the United States’ National Security Agency who leaked the documents from which the spying allegations were emerged, asylum in Indonesia.
Speaking separately in Jakarta, Gen. Sutarman, the National Police chief, said police would protect all Australian nationals living in Indonesia, amid growing tensions between the two countries over accusations that Australian authorities tried to tap into the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and various ministers.
“We have to guarantee their safety,” Sutarman said on Monday.
He also emphasized that despite having suspended its cooperation on tackling people smuggling rings with Australia, the police would continue to take strict action against the practice.
“We will make arrests should such cases happen in Indonesia,” he said.
Yudhoyono, who had sought an explanation from Canberra about the allegations, has reportedly received a letter from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, though its contents are not known.
Despite calls for the letter to be made public, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha insisted such a move would be unethical.
“It was a letter between two heads of state. It’s unethical to reveal it to the public,” he said on Sunday as quoted by the news site Detik.com.