Jakarta, March 5 (ANTARA) - The United States embassy in Jakarta here Saturday issued a statement saying that recent violence against minority communities and new local regulations restricting religious freedom are damaging Indonesia`s international reputation as a democracy with a tradition of tolerance and a commitment to protecting the freedoms of all its citizens.

" As a friend of Indonesia, and as a partner in the G-20 and other international organizations, we support the overwhelming majority of Indonesians who abhor religious violence and support tolerance. Laws should protect citizens from violence rather than restrict their rights," the US embassy said.

President Yudhoyono has clearly stated that he supports a tolerant Indonesia free from violence and intimidation, the embassy said in its statement.

Editor: AA Ariwibowo
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