Indonesian demands asylum at Swiss embassy in Jakarta

Activists from the Malakus at the Swiss embassy in Jakarta demand international intervention to end the religious conflict there Keystone

A Christian from Indonesia's Moluccas Islands has asked for political asylum at the Swiss embassy in Jakarta. He is one of a group of six Christians who broke into the embassy grounds on Wednesday.

This content was published on September 27, 2000 minutes

The six young people climbed the four-metre fence surrounding the embassy to enter the grounds. They threatened to immolate themselves unless they were listened to, according to a Swiss foreign ministry spokeswoman.

The Moluccans made three demands during a one-hour discussion with embassy staff. They asked to be allowed to leave the embassy safely, and for the international community to take notice of their actions.

They also requested the Swiss authorities to grant asylum to one of them.

The foreign ministry said it was considering the demands, and that another meeting would take place on Thursday. In the meantime, at the Swiss embassy's request, police have surrounded the grounds to prevent other protesters from entering.

Three months ago, the Indonesian authorities declared a state of emergency in the Moluccas islands. They are attempting to end the violence between Christians and Muslims, which has left over 4,000 dead and displaced half a million people since January 1998.

The conflict started after a fight between a Christian and a Muslim in Ambon, the capital of the Moluccas islands.

swissinfo with agencies

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