Rebels in India destroyed Coca Cola bottles and blasted a Pepsi warehouse as mainly small-scale protests against the US-led war on Iraq were held across Asia.
As many governments tightened security outside British and American embassies, protests were held Monday in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia while Afghanistan and the Philippines moved to put down rallies.
Indonesians filled the streets of several cities on Monday to protest at the US-led invasion of Iraq, with some denouncing President George Bush as a “terrorist” and a “vampire.”
In Jakarta police arrested 10 members of the hardline Islamic Youth Movement for intimidating a group of tourists who were eating at a US-franchised Sizzler restaurant.
Shouts of “Destroy the United States,” were heard from the protesters, mostly veiled women. They carried posters reading “Capture Bush Dead or Alive” and “No Blood for Oil.”
Some 200 members of the same group protested at Jember in East Java displaying placards reading “Bush is a Vampire” and “Bush is a Criminal and a Terrorist,” Elshinta radio said.
Muslim students from Bandung in West Java rallied in front of the strongly-guarded US embassy in Jakarta.
In the city of Semarang, hundreds of activists forced the closure of the local office of a US bank and two outlets of US food chains, Elshinta reported.
Protesters targeted US-franchised restaurants and called for a boycott of American products, but police promised to protect foreigners and overseas businesses.
In Australia, hundreds of anti-war protesters tried to storm parliament on Monday, demanding the withdrawal of Australian troops fighting in Iraq.
Police managed to hold back the 400 activists who were calling on Australian Prime Minister John Howard to come outside and address them.
India’s oldest and most violent rebel outfit, the banned People’s War Group, targeted soft drink giants Coca Cola and Pespi and liquor stores in two districts of the southern Andhra Pradesh state late on Sunday night.
Around half a dozen armed rebels raided a warehouse stacked with Pepsi bottles and used explosives to raze it to the ground, police said.
“The exact cost of damage is still being assessed but it appears the rebels targeted the soft drink giants and some other stores selling Indian made foreign liquor to protest against the war,” Anil Kumar Puneeth, superintendent of police told AFP.
In neighboring Pakistan, 200 blind students denounced the war and demanded protection for Iraqi children.
The protests came a day after some 200,000 people swarmed streets in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Bangaladesh braced for a new round of anti-war protests.
The “Anti-War Movement,” a pro-peace group of university teachers, was scheduled to hold a demonstration at Dhaka University later Monday as part of daily demonstrations after 3,000 protested Sunday.
Security has been stepped up at the US embassy and in other key installations in the Philippine capital Manila amid allegations that the Iraqi embassy there was funding anti-US street protests.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo’ announced Monday that she had ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat and a non-diplomatic staff member of Iraq’s embassy in Manila on charges of spying.
About 3,000 people staged a demonstration in the Thai capital Bangkok Monday while the authorities in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman clamped down on a second day of demonstrations.
More than 10,000 people hit the streets of Laghman provincial capital Mehtarlam Sunday, chanting slogans and torching US and coalition flags in the first ever anti-US demonstration in Afghanistan.
Smaller demonstrations were held in South Korea.
-AGENCE FRANCE PRESS