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U.S. Indonesia Consulate Closed Amid Anti-Islam Film Protests

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MEDAN, Indonesia — The U.S. temporarily closed its consulate in Indonesia's third-largest city Wednesday due to ongoing protests over an anti-Islam film produced in America.

About 300 members of the pan-Islamic movement Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia rallied Wednesday morning in front of the consulate in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province. Later, about 50 Muslim students protested, marking the third straight day of demonstrations there. Both groups called on Washington to punish the makers of the film, "Innocence of Muslims," which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

The embassy sent a text message to U.S. citizens saying the consulate would be temporarily closed due to the demonstrations.

In Jakarta, around 300 members of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party rallied outside the U.S. Embassy. They dispersed after throwing eggs on a mock U.S. flag.

Indonesia's leaders and prominent Muslim clerics have urged calm, but convicted radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has called for a strong response to the film, urging Muslims to wage violent protests similar to those that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya last week.

"What happened in Libya can be replicated," Bashir told the Islamic news portal voa-islam.com, which interviewed him in jail. "Punishment for defaming God and the Prophet is death. ...There is no excuse."

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