Denmark Recalls Jakarta Embassy Staff

Just as things seemed to be quieting down following a week and a half of heavy Muslim protests against the Danish newspaper drawings of Mohammed, the situation has taken a dramatic turn for the worese for Danes in Indonesia.

Due to so-called “serious and specific threats” against Denmark’s diplomatic representation in Jakarta, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to pull out all posted embassy personnel – including Ambassador Niels Erik Andersen. They all left Indonesia during the night between Friday and Saturday. In their absence, the Dutch embassy will take care of Danish diplomatic interests.
“We have received some very serious and specific warnings that we believe to be credible – warnings that we simply cannot ignore,” says spokesman Lars Thuesen from the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen.
The ministry does not wish to reveal further details about these newly-reported threats for fear of ‘drying up’ the sources from which this information came. The dimplomatic withdrawal is indefinite, and the ambassador and his staff will not return to their posts in Jakarta until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deems that the threats to their security is no longer clear and present.
“It is still too early to say when they will return,” says Lars Thuesen.

Bali Evacuated – Demonstrations Continue
This weekend, Denmark has also temporarily closed embassies in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Danish tourists on vacation in Bali have also been called home, and according to various travel agencies it will be a while before they will return.
“The situation is so unstable that we have decided to drop Bali completely for the time being – and it will be at least 6 months before we begin sending tourists there again,” says Director Stig Elling from Star Tour.

Meanwhile, the anti-Danish demonstrations continued across the world Saturday – including in Jakarta, where members of the radical group Hitz-bhu-tarirah took to the streets to show their anger against the lack of an official apology from the Danish government, following the printing of the 12 infamous drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.

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