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Bush shows support for Indonesia amid protests

Written by: Staff

BOGOR, Nov 20 (Reuters) US President George W Bush showed support for a US ally in the war against Islamic militants today with a visit to Indonesia which generated angry protests in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Ending an Asia tour, Bush held talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the former Dutch colonial Bogor Palace with protesters held at bay by a large security presence.

Yudhoyono, at a joint news conference in the former Dutch colonial Bogor Palace, gave Bush a nudge on Iraq, telling him that a ''proper timetable'' for pulling US troops out of Iraq will eventually be needed.

It is an option Bush has adamantly opposed and he said nothing in response to Yudhoyono's recommendation.

Outside the locked-down town centre, about 1,000 anti-US protesters ignored monsoon rain and thunder to chant anti-Bush slogans in front of Bogor's telecommunications centre after breaking through an outer ring of police barricades.

Bush, held in deep suspicion in the Muslim world for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, shrugged off the protests as evidence of a healthy society.

''It's not the first time where people have showed up and expressed their opinion about my policies. But that's what happens when you make hard decisions,'' he said.

A reporter saw some 10 to 20 protesters from among a group of 200 engage in a shoving match with police, but it did not get out of control.

''Thank God that it is raining, very helpful,'' said Bogor police chief Nurwidianto, as some protesters scattered in the downpours.


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