TIME indonesia

New Indonesian President Jokowi Talks Tough With Fading Power Australia

Indonesia's new President Widodo shouts "Merdeka" or Freedom at the end of his speech, during his inauguration in Jakarta
Indonesia's new President Joko Widodo shouts "Merdeka," meaning freedom, at the end of his speech, during his inauguration at the parliament's building in Jakarta on Oct. 20, 2014 Darren Whiteside—Reuters

Indonesia's newfound chest-thumping may simply be a fledgling administration's efforts to win domestic approval, but is nonetheless indicative of shifting powers in the region

Two days before his Oct. 20 inauguration, new Indonesian President Joko Widodo, gave Australia a stern warning not to test the territorial sovereignty of the world’s largest archipelago.

“We will give a warning that this is not acceptable,” Jokowi, as he is widely known, told Fairfax Media in reference to half a dozen incursions into Indonesian waters last year by Australian navy ships turning back boats full of predominantly Middle Eastern asylum seekers. “We have international law, you must respect international law.”

Bolstering Jokowi’s message, Indonesia’s new Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi — the first ever female in the role — confirmed on Wednesday a departure from former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s principle of “thousand friends, zero enemies” to national interests first.

“To uphold our political sovereignty, what we must do is preserve the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” Retno said at her first press conference. “We’ll do this firmly and clearly.”

The interception one day earlier of a Singaporean passenger aircraft over a well-traveled flight path that cuts through Indonesian airspace may be indicative of Jakarta’s new hard-line stance. Indonesian fighter jets forced the aircraft to land and pay a $4,900 fine — despite protestation from the Singaporean owner, ST Aerospace, that it had been using the route for a number of years without the need for prior clearance from Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

However, these messages must be read within the context of Indonesia’s time-honored political melodrama, where tough talk against meddling foreign powers is par for the course. It’s also an easy and predictable way for new administration to score political points on the home front. “I think Jokowi’s warning to Australia was made for domestic consumption rather that advocating a nationalistic tone in foreign policy,” says Philips Vermonte, head of international relations at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.

Indeed, Jokowi’s apparent double standards when dealing with Chinese incursions in the fish- and gas-rich waters of the Natuna Islands, on the northwest coast of Indonesian Borneo, seems to demonstrate diplomatic nuance rather than a new era of nationalistic fervor.

As recently as March 2013, armed Chinese ships bullied Indonesian patrol boats into releasing Chinese fisherman caught trawling illegally near Natuna. China has also included parts of the waters around Natuna within its so-called nine-dash line — its vague southern maritime boundary, adding Indonesia to the long list of countries it’s dueling with over aggressive claims to some 90% of the South China Sea.

In April, Indonesia’s armed-forces chief General Moeldoko penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal promising to strengthen Indonesian forces on Natuna and prepare fighter jets to meet “any eventuality.”

But two months later, during a presidential-election debate in June, Jokowi claimed Indonesia had no beef with China. In later interviews he adroitly turned the burning strategic problem with China on its head, suggesting Indonesia could serve as an “honest broker” vis-a-vis the Middle Kingdom’s disputes with other countries in the South China Sea.

This should not, however, be understood to mean the new Indonesian administration will be pushovers. Its soft stance on overlapping territorial claims with China is obviously linked to the fact that China is Indonesia’s second largest export trading partner. Australia, meanwhile, barely makes the top 10.

The lesson, it seems, more concerns shifting regional power than newfound Indonesian belligerence. “Australia needs to understand that Indonesia’s place in the world is growing, while it is not,”
 adds Professor Tim Lindsey, director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the Melbourne Law School. By current estimates, he adds, Indonesia will have world’s seventh largest economy in around a decade and the fifth largest by 2050. “Australia’s current policies of turning back the boats doesn’t seem to factor in any of that at all,” says Lindsey.

“I think Australia would be advised to take [Jokowi’s latest about naval incursions] warning very seriously, and that it would be unwise to look at it in narrow terms by saying, ‘Their navy is very small so it’s not a valid threat,’” opines Antje Missbach, a research fellow at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences in Melbourne. “There are many ways Indonesia could make a point without involving its navy.”

Moreover, she adds, “Look what happened last time Australia offended them,” referring to when Indonesia recalled its ambassador to Australia for six months following revelations by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden that Australia had spied on Yudhoyono and his wife.

Speaking to TIME, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says, “It is not the government’s policy to incur Indonesia’s waters” and blames past incursions on the opposition government it replaced following the September 2013 general elections. “[We're] working closely with the new government of Indonesia on people-smuggling issues and we are optimistic about initial responses,” Morrison says.

Optimism is one thing; keeping out of your neighbor’s backyard is another altogether.

— With reporting by Yenni Kwok

MONEY retirement age

Australia’s Brilliant — and Brutal — Retirement Crisis Solution

Sydney Opera House and downtown skyline, Sydney, Australia.
Jill Schneider—Getty Images/National Geographic

Australia is asking workers to work longer. Would it work in the United States?

Americans are quite familiar with the challenges threatening the Social Security system, with an aging population starting to retire and putting more strain on the shrinking group of workers paying the Social Security taxes that support their benefits. But America isn’t alone in facing a retirement crisis, and other countries are taking much more dramatic steps to shore up their systems for providing financial assistance to people in their old age. In particular, Australia plans to force its workers to stay in their jobs for years beyond their current retirement age in order to qualify for benefits — and it’s giving employers incentives to make sure older workers can get the jobs they need to hold out that long.

The Australian solution: Work until you’re 70

Australia has seen many of the same things happen to its old-age pension system that the U.S. has seen with Social Security. When Australia first implemented what it calls its age pension more than a century ago, only 4% of the nation’s population lived to the age at which they could claim benefits. Now, though, life expectancies have grown, with the typical Australian living 15 to 20 years beyond the official retirement age of 65. As a result, 9% of the Australian population gets benefits from the age pension, and the potential for some of those recipients to get support from the program for two decades or more has threatened the financial stability of the system. Currently, 2.4 million Australians receive about $35 billion in benefits from the program, making it the Australian government’s largest expenditure.

As a result, Australia has made plans to increase its official retirement age. Over the next 20 years or so, Australians will see the age at which they can officially retire climb to 70 if the plan is approved, putting the land down under at the top of the world’s list of highest retirement ages.

When you just look at the age-pension portion of Australia’s retirement system, that sounds draconian, and plenty of Australians aren’t thrilled about the move. With a significant part of Australia’s economy based on extracting natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal, and various metals, the back-breaking work that many Australians do makes the prospect of staying on the job until 70 seem almost physically impossible. Proponents of the measure counter that argument with the fact that 85% of Australians work in the services industry, and many of those jobs don’t require the physical exertion that makes them impractical for those in their 60s.

Moreover, younger Australians worry about the need for older workers to stay on the job longer. Many fear a “jobless generation” of young adults who can’t get their older counterparts to give way and make room for them to start their careers.

What Australians have that the U.S. doesn’t

Yet before you bemoan the fate of the Australian public, it’s important to keep in mind that the age pension system isn’t the only resource they have going for them. In addition, Australians participate in what’s known as the superannuation system, under which employers are required to make contributions toward superannuation retirement accounts equal to 9.5% of their pay. Like American 401(k)s, employees are allowed to select investment options for this money, with default provisions usually investing in a balanced-

Over time, superannuation assets have built up impressively. As of June 30, assets in superannuation accounts rose to A$1.85 trillion. Australia is also seeking to have those fund balances rise more quickly by requiring more from employers on the superannuation front. Over the next seven years, the employer contribution rate will rise to 12%, accelerating the growth of this important part of Australians’ retirement planning.

Like 401(k)s and IRAs in the U.S., Australians can make withdrawals from their superannuation accounts at earlier ages than they can claim pensions. For those born before mid-1960, access to their retirement savings opens at age 55. That age is slated to rise to 60 over the next decade, but it will still give Australians access to money well before age pensions become available to help them bridge the financial gap.

Should America follow Australia’s lead?

Calls to increase Social Security’s retirement age have met with strong opposition in the U.S., and the Australian plan won’t change that. Yet without the backstop that superannuation provides, raising the retirement age to 70 in the U.S. would be even more painful for aging Americans. Some workers are fortunate enough to have employer matching and profit-sharing contributions that mimic what most Australians get from superannuation, but it’s rare for anyone to get anywhere near the 9.5% to 12% that Australian workers have contributed on their behalf.

Many see Australia’s answer to its retirement crisis as brutal, but given the aging population, it’s consistent with the original purpose of old-age pensions. If the U.S. wants to make similar moves, American workers need the same outside support for their retirement that Australians get — and that will also require more effort on workers’ part to save on their own for retirement.

TIME Crime

Why That ‘Dingo’s Got My Baby’ Line Isn’t Funny

Dingo
An Australian wild Dingo dog Russell Mcphedran—AP

Oct. 29, 1982: An Australian woman is convicted of murder after courts reject her claim that a dingo took her baby

For years, whether or not you believed Lindy Chamberlain’s story depended on which nightmarish scenario you found more plausible: that a wild dog snatched her sleeping 9-week-old baby from a tent in the Australian outback, or that Lindy herself slashed the infant’s throat and then invented the farfetched story to cover up her crime.

Thirty-two years ago today, on Oct. 29, 1982, a jury went for the latter interpretation and convicted Chamberlain of murder. She was sentenced to a lifetime behind bars. The case gained international notoriety, inspiring the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark, in which Meryl Streep, as Chamberlain, shouts the words that would become a morbid punch line: “The dingo’s got my baby!”

The couple was exonerated after the baby’s knit jacket appeared in 1986, partly buried next to a remote dingo lair. Chamberlain was freed and the guilt was redistributed to those who had vilified her. A mere two years earlier, 77% of Australians polled had believed she was guilty, and not just because of the outrageous story.

One source of suspicion was her religion. Her husband was a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, then little-known in Australia. Rumors swirled that the church was a cult that practiced infant sacrifice, and that Azaria — the name of Chamberlain’s late daughter — meant “sacrifice in the wilderness” (it means “blessed of God”). Another strike against Chamberlain was the way she carried herself. Stylish and stoic, she never erupted in hysterics in court. She was called cold and calculating. As journalist Julia Baird wrote in a New York Times op-ed, “She was, we were told, more interested in looking pretty than in the death of her child.”

Compared to Chamberlain, dingoes were viewed more warmly, at least initially. In the early 1980s, TIME reports, dingoes had never been known to attack humans — or at least, such cases hadn’t been publicized.

“On television, footage from the Chamberlains’ trial was often accompanied by images of the wild dogs looking more affable than aggressive,” TIME’s Marina Kamenev wrote. Since then, however, dozens of dingo attacks have made the news, including a 2001 mauling that killed a 9-year-old boy.

Those attacks were considered in the most recent inquest into Azaria Chamberlain’s death — the fourth in three decades — which resulted in a 2012 ruling that a dingo had indeed killed, and likely devoured, the baby. When that final report was released, Australians expressed remorse for having jumped to the wrong conclusions, according to Baird.

“Comedians issued public apologies for using Lindy Chamberlain as a punch line; TV hosts were grave and emotional,” she wrote.

Chamberlain, meanwhile, felt vindicated. “No longer will Australia be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous and will only attack if provoked,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We live in a beautiful country, but it is dangerous.”

Read about the reopened Chamberlain case, here in TIME’s archives: Did a Dingo Really Get Her Baby?

TIME Australia

Australia’s Top ISIS Militant Killed: Sources

Mohammad Ali Baryalei actively recruited for ISIS and was allegedly behind a failed terrorist plot in Sydney earlier this year

Multiple Australian media outlets reported Wednesday that Mohammad Ali Baryalei, one of the country’s most senior figures in the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), is believed to have died fighting for the Sunni extremist group in the Middle East.

Reports of the militant’s death stemmed from a Facebook post on Tuesday by one of Baryalei’s friends living in Syria that claimed the 33-year-old had been “martyred,” according to the Australian.

However, reliable details regarding the circumstances of his apparent death remain scant.

Authorities in Canberra were unable to verify the claim as of Wednesday morning. “I can’t confirm it at this stage,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters at a press conference in the Australian capital, Canberra.

Baryalei, a former Sydney street preacher, was likely the most senior Australian operative fighting in ISIS ranks and is believed to have worked as a top recruiter for the militant organization. He reportedly enlisted as many as half of the 60 Australians estimated to be currently fighting for ISIS, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Authorities also named Baryalei as one of the key masterminds behind a plot to slay non-Muslims at random across Sydney earlier this year, which spurred a massive crackdown by Australian officials in September.

TIME Australia

These Are Some of the Most Australian Political Sound Bites Ever

Prime Minister Holds Joint Press Conference In Sydney
Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the media at Sydney Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices on September 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Mark Metcalfe—Getty Images

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has threatened to knock Vladimir Putin to the ground. Hey, that's just another day in Aussie political discourse

“Look, I’m going to shirt-front Mr. Putin … You bet I am. I am going to be saying to Mr. Putin, ‘Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this.’”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott isn’t exactly known for his oratory. But Russian President Vladimir Putin – and most Australians – were left scratching their heads over what exactly Abbott, who enjoyed a brief but successful stint as a heavyweight boxer, plans to do to the Russian leader’s shirt when he visits Australia for the G-20 meeting in Brisbane next month.

According to slangdictionary.org, shirt-fronting is a term from the Australian rules football code, and it happens when a player executes a “head-on charge aimed at bumping an opponent to the ground.” AFlrules.com.au adds that a shirt-front is “quite aggressive” and “illegal.”

Abbott’s comments were made in the context of increasingly loud calls to ban Putin from visiting Australia because of Russia’s apparent indifference to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July. Of the 298 passenger and crew who lost their lives in the disaster, 36 were Australian residents — making them the third largest group of nationals killed after the Dutch and Malaysians.

As a ninth-degree black-belt in taekwondo who could probably hold his own against Abbott, Putin did not dignify the Australian Prime Minister with a response.

While Abbott has since toned down his rhetoric, saying he simply plans to have a “robust conversation” with Putin, he is by no means the first Australian politician to put his foot in his mouth on the international stage. Products of a culture in which frankness is placed on a pedestal, spin-doctoring is despised and politics is sport, their propensity for speaking their mind is a large part of what endears them to the Australian public.

Here are some other famous gaffes uttered by Australian politicians over the years.

1. “The Chinese bastards”

“They’re communists, they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country. I don’t mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stopping them from doing it.” —Mining magnate and MP Clive Palmer during a live debate aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in September.

2. “Swamped by Asians”

“I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40% of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist, but if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country.” —Former MP Pauline Hanson delivering her maiden speech to parliament in 1996.

3. “Islam as a country”

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia.” —Stephanie Banister, a candidate for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, during a interview with Channel 7 in the lead up to Australia’s 2013 federal election.

4. “Put him down”

“The Leader of the Opposition is more to be pitied than despised, the poor old thing. The Liberal Party of Australia ought to put him down like a faithful old dog because he is of no use to it and of no use to the nation.” —Treasurer Paul Keating to Opposition Leader Andrew Peacock, 1984

5. “Walk to Bourke”

“I would walk to [the New South Wales town of] Bourke backwards if the gay population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001%.” —MP Bob Katter in 1989. Katter’s half brother Carl later came out as gay.

6. “A bum”

“Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” —Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, following Australia’s victory in the 1983 America’s Cup.

TIME MH370

Underwater Search for Missing Plane Resumes

Malaysia Missing Plane
A member of the Kechara Buddhist organization offers prayers for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 at Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, outside Kuala Lumpur, on April 13, 2014 Lai Seng Sin—AP

Crews will use sonar, video cameras and jet fuel sensors to scour the seabed for the Boeing 777

(SYDNEY) — The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumed Monday in a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean, more than six months after the jet vanished.

The GO Phoenix, the first of three ships that will spend up to a year hunting for the wreckage far off Australia’s west coast, is expected to spend 12 days hunting for the jet before heading to shore to refuel.

Crews will use sonar, video cameras and jet fuel sensors to scour the seabed for the Boeing 777, which vanished for reasons unknown on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The search has been on hold for four months so crews could map the seabed in the search zone, about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) west of Australia. The 60,000-square kilometer (23,000-square mile) search site lies along what is known as the “seventh arc” — a stretch of ocean where investigators believe the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed. Officials analyzed transmissions between the plane and a satellite to estimate where it entered the water.

Two other ships being provided by Dutch contractor Fugro are expected to join the Malaysian-contracted GO Phoenix later this month.

The ships will be dragging sonar devices called towfish through the water about 100 meters (330 feet) above the seabed to hunt for the wreckage. The towfish are also equipped with sensors that can detect the presence of jet fuel, and are expected to be able to cope with the dizzying depths of the search zone, which is 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) deep in places.

If anything of interest is spotted on the sonar, crews will attach a video camera to the towfish to film the seabed.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan, whose agency is leading the search, has expressed cautious optimism that the plane will eventually be found.

“We’re confident in the analysis and we’re confident that the aircraft is close to the seventh arc,” he said.

TIME Australia

Australia Will Commit Troops and Jets to Iraq, PM Says

Tony Abbott
Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. Jason DeCrow—AP

There will be 200 special forces troops deployed alongside 8 fighter jets

Australia will put troops on the ground in Iraq and assist in airstrikes to help fight ISIS (also known as ISIL) — the first time the nation has committed itself militarily in Iraq, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a televised news conference that 200 Special Forces troops will be deployed to “advise and assist” the Iraqi army as it seeks to scorch out the terrorist group. Meanwhile, up to eight of the nation’s Super Hornet fighters will be flown in for airstrikes, the Herald reports.

“I have to warn that this deployment to Iraq could be quite lengthy, certainly months rather than weeks,” Abbott said. “I want to reassure the Australian people that it will be as long as it needs to be, but as short as it possibly can be.”

Until now, Australian aircraft have flown into Iraq to contribute humanitarian aid, as well as distribute arms to Iraqi forces, Reuters reports. Abbott said that the mission should not be understood as a “war” — since the forces will be fighting an insurgency and not a state government — but as an expansion of Australia’s humanitarian mission, the Herald says.

“It is an essentially humanitarian mission, yes, it is a combat deployment but it is an essentially humanitarian mission to protect the people of Iraq and ultimately the people of Australia from the murderous rage of the ISIL death cult,” said Abbott, reports The Herald.

Though it was anticipated that Australia would join the U.S.-led effort bombing campaign against Islamic State targets Iraq, it was less expected that Australia would commit to putting troops on the ground, Reuters said.

Australia officials have joined with other Western governments in expressing heightened alarm at the number of their citizens who have gone to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, as well as at evidence that some of those people have since returned home — battle-hardened and indoctrinated.

Reuters reports that 160 Australians are believed to be fighting in the Middle East, 20 of whom have come back to Australia, according to Australian official estimates.

TIME animals

Watch a Great White Shark Attack Another Great White Shark

Cue the Jaws theme

Some truths are self-evident, like the fact that a video of a great white shark attacking another great white shark is the rowdiest thing you will watch today, probably this week, maybe ever.

You’re welcome.

WATCH: This Video Shows What It’s Like to Come Face-to-Face With a Great White Shark

MORE: Beachgoers Beware: The Great White Shark Population Is Growing Again

MORE: TIME’s Shark Cover

TIME Australia

Australian Police Arrest 1 in Counterterrorism Raids

Australia Terrorism
A police officer, left, speaks with two people outside of a house where a man was taken into custody during a counterterrorism raid in Seabrook, suburban Melbourne on Sept. 30, 2014 Julian Smith—AP

Police say the raids came after an eight-month investigation that began with a tip from the FBI

(MELBOURNE) — One man was arrested in counterterrorism raids in the Australian city of Melbourne on Tuesday after police said he provided money to a U.S. citizen fighting alongside extremists in Syria.

Hassan El Sabsabi, 23, appeared briefly in a Melbourne court on six counts of intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organization. He did not enter a plea or apply for bail.

El Sabsabi’s arrest comes a week after Melbourne police fatally shot a terror suspect who had stabbed two officers. Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said Tuesday’s arrest was not connected to that incident.

Police say the raids came after an eight-month investigation that began with a tip from the FBI. El Sabsabi is accused of giving about $12,000 to a U.S. citizen to fund his travel to Syria, where he is currently fighting, Gaughan said. The two men are not related and know each other primarily through social media, he said.

Gaughan declined to release details about the American in Syria, except to say he’d been fighting there for “a number of months.”

El Sabsabi was not involved in planning an attack, and there was no specific threat to the public, Gaughan said. Police believe he was operating alone, and was about to provide additional funds.

State and federal police officers raided seven properties in Melbourne on Tuesday and collected a large amount of electronic data, Gaughan said.

“This is a terrorism financing case — we didn’t assess there being a significant community safety risk, or a significant risk to our officers,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Prosecutor Andrew Doyle said the evidence against El Sabsabi includes 25,000 pages of material from social media accounts and 500 telephone calls and messages.

El Sabsabi’s lawyer Trieu Huynh told the court that his client had never been in custody before. He asked that a doctor examine El Sabsabi as soon as possible for a medical condition, which Huynh declined to detail in court.

El Sabsabi said nothing and was ordered to reappear in February. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Earlier this month, Australia raised its terror warning to the second-highest level, citing the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State militant group.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament security agencies know of 100 people within Australia who are supporting terrorist groups overseas through recruitment or funding. He said 630 million Australian dollars ($550 million) in new spending on intelligence, law enforcement and border protection agencies over the next four years would include AU$20 million for the anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC to help prevent terrorism funding.

“Anyone who supports terrorists is complicit in the dreadful deeds they do,” Abbott said.

Last week, terror suspect Numan Haider, 18, was killed after he stabbed two police officers during a routine meeting outside a Melbourne police station. Both officers are recovering.

TIME Hong Kong

Global Support Pours In for Hong Kong Democracy Protests

AUSTRALIA-HONGKONG-CHINA-POLITICS-DEMOCRACY
Notes from supporters of the thousands of protesters who paralyzed parts of Hong Kong to demand greater democracy from Beijing are seen in Sydney on Sept. 29, 2014 Peter Parks—AFP/Getty Images

Rallies in the U.S., Australia, Taiwan, Europe and elsewhere have been held to express solidarity

As tens of thousands of protestors flooded the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend, their struggle for democracy captured the imaginations of supporters across the world.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a group called the Hong Kong Overseas Alliance organized protests Saturday in various cities to show their solidarity with the Occupy Central movement — now being dubbed the Umbrella Revolution because of the ubiquitous umbrellas being used by protesters to shield themselves from police pepper spray.

Demonstrations were held by the group in New York City, which saw 200 people march on the Chinese consulate. Smaller protests were held in Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Another group, calling itself United for Democracy: Global Solidarity With Hong Kong, conducted a rally in London on Saturday that drew over 400 people. The protesters, mainly Hong Kong citizens and students, marched to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in the city’s plush Mayfair district, and tied yellow ribbons on the building’s railings.

The yellow ribbon has been adopted as the symbol of Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy, and has inspired a movement in Australia called the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. The campaign reportedly collected 500 signatures from 12 Australian universities for a petition of support.

“My heart sinks, as my brother and sister are participating in Occupy movement. I am worried for their safety,” organizer Chrisann Palm, a Brisbane-based Hong Kong citizen who teaches at Queensland University of Technology, told the Journal.

According to Global Solidarity’s social-media accounts, there were rallies in Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne on Monday, as well as in Kuala Lumpur and Paris. Demonstrations are planned for Dublin, Seattle, Auckland, Copenhagen and Stockholm on Oct. 1.

A petition urging support for Hong Kong’s push for democracy has also made its way onto the White House public petitions site. “We hereby strongly appeal to the U.S. government to make it clear to the Beijing authorities that any effort to crackdown peaceful demonstrations by force will be strongly opposed and severely punished,” said the petition, which has already reached more than 183,000 signatures in response to its goal of 100,000 by Oct. 4.

Meanwhile Mashable reported that a group in Ferguson — the Missouri town where the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown sparked protests and police crackdowns — held up signs in Chinese to express their solidarity with Hong Kong demonstrators.

Closer to home, solidarity protests have been convened in Taiwan’s capital Taipei, with the Straits Times reporting that a group of protesters led by student activist Chen Wei-ting demanded that their President condemn the situation in Hong Kong and cease all dealings with the Chinese government. Pro-democracy protesters also reportedly crowded a Hong Kong trade office in Taiwan, and briefly scuffled with police.

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