Spy row boils over into protests and porn slur

Spy row boils over into protests and porn slur
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa delivers a statement in Jakarta on November 18, 2013.

JAKARTA - Indonesians burned Australian flags yesterday over reports that Australia's spies tried to tap the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife, as relations between the neighbours plunged to their lowest point since the late 1990s.

About 200 people marched to the heavily fortified Australian embassy in Jakarta to demand an apology over the alleged spying, which prompted Dr Yudhoyono to downgrade diplomatic relations with Canberra.

Other protesters in Yogyakarta burned Australian flags in a show of anger.

Indonesian hackers also vented their anger, claiming responsibility for a cyber attack on the websites of the Australian Federal Police and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

In the Australian capital, the scandal took an embarrassing twist for Prime Minister Tony Abbott when one of his party's strategists described someone reported to be the Indonesian foreign minister as resembling "a 1970s Filipino porn star".

"Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970s Pilipino (sic) porn star and has ethics to match," said the tweet from Mr Mark Textor, which has since been deleted.

Reports said he was referring to Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who has demanded Canberra apologise over the scandal.

Military chief Moeldoko said two current exercises with Australia were being halted. The head of the armed forces said: "What's the point of joint training when they don't trust us?"

The reports that sparked the Indonesian outrage quoted documents leaked by former United States National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, suggesting Australia had tried to monitor the phones of top Indonesian officials in 2009.

Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said there had been little economic impact from the row.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.