JAKARTA - HUNDREDS of Indonesian Islamists rallied in central Jakarta on Sunday to protest against this week's visit by US President Barack Obama.

More than 1,000 protesters from the radical group Hizbut Tahrir shouted 'Obama Comes, We Crush' and 'Reject Obama' outside the state palace and the US embassy. They brandished posters bearing his picture and banners with slogans such as 'Do not add to Indonesia's grief'.

'President Barack Obama until today has continued to colonise Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and kill our brothers there. As such, we will not accept him as a guest,' Hizbut Tahrir spokesman Mohammed Ismail Yusanto told AFP.

'With the disasters happening in Indonesia, his visit will only add to our grief,' he added, referring to natural disasters that have taken hundreds of lives in the last few weeks.

Radical groups like Hizbut Tahrir have little popular support in the archipelago of 240 million people. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world, is constitutionally secular and culturally moderate.

Mr Obama's visit is focused on the big strategic goal of mending ties with the Muslim world. During his stay he will visit the country's biggest mosque and make a speech at a prestigious state university. The country is still reeling from natural disasters.

Islamists protest Obama visit