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Anti-Australian demonstrations in Indonesia have prompted travel warnings


Travellers are being warned to avoid demonstrations in Jakarta and Surabaya following Australia's shift in Middle East policy.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has issued a travel warning for parts of Indonesia, where demonstrations have erupted over Australia's decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In recent weeks, throngs of demonstrators have been holding regular protests near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya. While the demonstrations have been peaceful, DFAT warns that demonstrations can turn violent without warning and advises Aussie travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in those areas as well as in Bali and Makassar where other Australian Consulates-General are located.

DFAT did not increase its overall warning level for Indonesia and the warning level remains at "exercise a high degree of caution" in regard to the country as a whole. However, a higher warning level remains in place for Central Sulawesi and Papua provinces for matters unrelated to the current demonstrations.

In addition to jeopardising their own personal safety, travellers who ignore DFAT's warnings could also find themselves in hot water with their travel insurance providers.

If you need to make a claim related to injury, property damage, travel delay or anything else, it could be denied if your insurer concludes you were taking part in the demonstration or got too close. That's because most insurers won't cover you for claims related to civil unrest if the government warned you about it ahead of time.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia's consequential shift in Middle East policy on Saturday, but said the Australian Embassy in Israel will remain in Tel Aviv until Palestine and Israel have reached a peace settlement.

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