JAKARTA, Indonesia – Scores of Islamic students staged protests outside Jakarta's parliament and in at least three other major Indonesian cities on Friday against President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to this predominantly Muslim country.
The students carried banners branding Yogyakarta and Surabaya.as an enemy of Islam and an imperialist in downtown as well as in the provincial capitals ,
They also threw shoes at large pictures of Obama's head. An Iraqi journalist was sentenced to a year in prison for throwing his shoes atnews conference in Baghdad in 2008.during a
Protest organizer Ahmad Irhamul Fikri, spokesman for the Coordinating Board for Campus Proselytizing Institute, said bigger rallies will be staged next Friday in more Indonesian cities ahead of Obama's March 20-22 visit.
Such demonstrations of hostility toward Obama are rare in, where he enjoys widespread popularity because he spend part of his childhood in Jakarta while his mother was married to his Indonesian stepfather.
Local government officials allowed business people to erect a statue of a 10-year-old Obama in a Jakarta park in December. But it was shifted last month to a that he attended after more than 50,000 people supported a Facebook campaign against it and court action was threatened.
Obama is expected to sign the statue's pedestal while in Jakarta.