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Occupation of Swiss embassy in Jakarta ends

Moluccan protesters at the Swiss embassy in Jakarta.

(Keystone / AP Photo / Charles Dharapak)

Six Indonesians who broke into the Swiss embassy in Jakarta last month have ended their occupation of the compound.

The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the move on Thursday, and said that hearings had begun on the group's applications for political asylum in Switzerland.

The authorities said the procedure would be a relatively lengthy one.

The five men and a woman are Christians who claim to be fleeing sectarian violence in the Molucca Islands.

They said they occupied the embassy grounds in an effort to bring the religious violence in the islands to world attention.

When they broke into the compound on September 27, they threatened to set themselves on fire unless they were listened to.

Three months ago, the Indonesian authorities declared a state of emergency in the Moluccas.

They are trying to end the violence between Christians and Moslems, which has left over 4,000 dead and displaced more than half a million people since January 1998.

swissinfo with agencies

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