SEA Games: Indonesia Calls For Calm Over Flag Blunder

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JAKARTA, Aug 23 – The Indonesian government Wednesday asked people not to overreact to a gaffe that saw Indonesia’s flag printed upside-down in a Southeast Asian Games commemorative magazine, after protests were staged in several cities. Protests, burnings of replica Malaysian flags and angry denunciations of the Malaysian government erupted in cities across the archipelago on Tuesday.

Malaysia’s SEA Games organisers sparked outrage in Indonesia when news of the misprint came to light at Saturday’s opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia’s flag has a red stripe above a white stripe, but it was printed with the white stripe on top, making it look like the flag of Poland.

About 200 people demonstrated outside the Malaysian consulate in Medan on the island of Sumatra. In the meanwhile, the protesters burned tyres and images of the Malaysian flag printed on paper, while demanding an official apology from Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

A presidential spokesman reiterated comments made by Joko Widodo at the weekend, asking for calm. “Our demands at that time were for the Malaysian government to give a formal apology and the youth and sports minister had asked for the booklets and brochures to be replaced,” spokesman Johan Budi told AFP Wednesday.

“The demands have been met, so please do not overreact and we should look at this problem wisely.” The protests – which were also staged on Bangka island, West Aceh and Riau province – follow the hacking of 33 Malaysian websites on Monday by a group who claimed to be from Indonesia. — AFP

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