This week in Indonesia....

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Thu Feb 8 16:20:56 MST 2001


There has been a lot of interesting things happening in Indonesia this
week.  I have put together a bunch of reports from the ABC website
(http://www.abc.net.au).  Presumably the next GLW will have some actual
analysis of what is happening, but here is the sequence of events.  Note
that there is some repetition in these reports.
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Thousands rally for President Wahid in Jakarta

Political tensions in Indonesia have increased with thousands of supporters
of President Abdurrahman Wahid burning two offices of the former ruling
party in protest against parliament's attempts to oust him from power.

The attacks happened just hours before legislators gave police documents
that allegedly link Mr Wahid to two corruption scandals that could lead to
his impeachment.

He is refusing to quit and has denied any wrong doing in the
multimillion-dollar affairs that have shaken his administration.

Police say a pro-Wahid mob of about 10,000 set fire to branch offices of
the Golkar Party in the neighboring towns of Situbondo and Asembagus in
East Java.

Anger against Golkar has risen since the parliament censured Mr Wahid last
week for his alleged involvement in the scandals.

Golkar's parliamentary members led the moves in parliament.

(5/02/01 23:01:00)
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Indonesian court rejects appeal to retry ex-President Suharto

Indonesia's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by prosecutors to retry
former President Suharto.

A corruption case against Suharto was dropped last year because the former
autocrat was too ill.

The head of general crime at the Supreme Court, Sayfuddin Kartasasmita, say
the court has declared that an appeal by the prosecutors cannot be
accepted.

He says the ex-President will only be put in the dock if he recovers from
his illness.

The dropping of Suharto's corruption trial last September triggered
widespread protests and clashes in Jakarta.

(5/02/01 23:01:18)
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Indonesia's parliamentary Speaker anti-Wahid

Indonesian parliamentary speaker Akbar Tandjung has denied calling on
embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid to quit.

Mr Tandjung says that Mr Wahid's censure from parliament last week over two
financial scandals has badly eroded his legitimacy.

However, he denied earlier media reports that he had asked the President to
quit.

The Speaker says any impeachment process must follow the rules set out in
the constitution.

He says this process could take several months.

(6/02/01 23:01:17)
 ----------------------------------------------------------


Wahid call for calm in East Java

In Indonesia, President Abdurrahman Wahid has called on thousands of
protestors to stop demonstrating in East Java, where the offices of rival
political parties have been trashed and roads blocked.

Mark Bowling reports violence appears to be escalating, with no end in
sight to a stand-off between the President and the Parliament.

Angry supporters of the president have vowed to continue their actions
until opposition parties drop demands for the president to resign. In the
seaside town of Bayuwangi the president's supporters blocked ferries from
crossing the straits separating the island of Java and Bali. They also
destroyed the office of Indonesia's former ruling party, Golkar. For the
last four days the supporters have rampaged through the streets in east
Java, protesting against moves to impeach President Wahid over corruption
allegations. President Wahid says he's issued instructions to his followers
to forsake violence and trust in the democratic process.

(6/02/01 23:31:21)
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Megawati rejects moves to remove Wahid as Indonesian protests continue

Indonesia's Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri has rejected intensified
moves by MPs to oust beleaguered President Abdurrahman Wahid, as his
supporters staged mass rallies in East Java.

Two petitions were circulating at the national parliament building, one
demanding the acceleration of a special parliamentary session -- at which
Mr Wahid could be impeached -- and another advising him to resign.

But Megawati, whose Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle holds the
largest block of 185 seats in the 700-seat People's Consultative Assembly,
ordered members not to sign either petition.

She and Golkar party chairman, Akbar Tanjung, advocated sticking to last
week's decision by parliament to censure President Wahid after it endorsed
a report implicating him in two financial scandals.

The developments came as thousands of pro-Wahid protestors demonstrated in
East Java, 1,000 of them cutting off ferry traffic to the resort island of
Bali.

(7/02/01 11:12:31)
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Indonesian Army opposes early impeachment of President

Indonesia's powerful military has rejected an early impeachment hearing
against struggling President Abdurrahman Wahid, sending a clear warning to
politicians pressing for a quick special assembly.

Military spokesman Air Vice Marshal Graito Usodo says any hearing must
follow the constitution, which sets out a complicated procedure that would
take four months before the top legislature, the People's Consultative
Assembly could be convened.

He says the special session cannot be brought forward because it will
violate the constitutional law and the military will not agree if it
violates the constitution.

MPR chief Amien Rais, who helped engineer Mr Wahid's surprise rise to power
15 months ago and is now spearheading the drive to oust him, is pressing
for a special MPR session within eight weeks.

However, on Monday the two leading parties, also rejected the move for an
early MPR session.

The armed forces hold a key bloc and remains a powerful institution whose
opinion carries considerable weight.

(7/02/01 20:01:24)
----------------------------------------------------


Continuing demonstrations in support of Indonesia's President

Indonesian police have fired warning shots and tear gas as thousands of
supporters of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid ran riot and torched
an opposition party headquarters in Surabaya.

East Java police chief commissioner Suharto puts the number of pro-Wahid
protesters throughout the city at 100,000,

Mark Bowling is there.

thousand of supporters of president abdurrahman wahid have just stormed the
headquarters of the opposition Golkar Party in Surabaya they have used
stones to smash the windows and break their way in. we heard gunsdhots from
inside and later riot police carried out atb least one man who had been
shot uin the leg. it's certainly scenes of anarchy here there are thousands
of supporters of supporters of president wahid who says that they will do
whatever it takes to defend his presidency.

(7/02/01 21:51:22)
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Violence flares in Indonesia's second-largest city

Police in Indonesia's second largest city have fired teargas and warning
shots to disperse angry protests by thousands of supporters of President
Abdurrahman Wahid.

Mark Bowling reports the demonstrators attacked the headquarters of the
opposition Golkar party in the city of Surabaya.

They smashed windows and ransacked offices inside the regional Golkar party
office, then they set the building on fire. Soldiers tried to force them
back, firing into the air and then launching tear gas. For these supporters
of President Wahid, Golkar was the despised ruling party during the Suharto
era. Earlier, about 20,000 supporters rallied in central Surabaya,
protestors carrying signs warning that if President Wahid falls the nation
will be destroyed. Today the Indonesian leader sacked his justice minister,
Yusril Mahendra, after he openly called for President Wahid to resign. Mark
Bowling, Surabaya.

(8/02/01 0:00:40)
--------------------------------------------------------------


Indonesian police uncover a stockpile of bombs in Jakarta

Police in Jakarta say they have found 1,400 bombs in a warehouse in the
Indonesian capital.

A guard and the owner of the warehouse in North Jakarta, is being
questioned but the owner of the bombs is on the run.

Police say the the bombs were packed in 150 cardboard boxes.

The Indonesian capital has been hit by a spate of unsolved bomb attacks in
the past 12 months.

(8/02/01 0:00:59)
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Indonesia's Wahid says riots the price of democracy

Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid says riots by thousands of his
supporters in East Java are the price Indonesian people must pay for
democracy.

The embattled president - whom parliament is trying to impeach over his
alleged involvement in two financial scandals- said the mass demonstration
in Surabaya, demonstrated enormour public anger.

But, he called on the people to remain calm, to be patient and follow the
process of democracy in a peaceful and orderly way.

President's Wahid's comments came after police fired warning shots and tear
gas but failed to prevent his supporters in Surabaya from torching the
opposition Golkar party headquarters.

(8/02/01 3:51:32)
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Supporters of Indonesian president rampage for fifth day

In Indonesia, supporters of embattled president Abdurrahman Wahid, have
gone on an angry rampage for a fifth day, destroying property and warning
political opponents there could be more violence to follow.

In the latest incident, soldiers fired tear gas to try to repel a crowd
destroying an opposition party headquarters, as Mark Bowling reports from
Surabaya in East Java, .

A mob smashed windows and then ransacked offices of the local headquarters
of the Golkar party - despised by President Wahid's supporters as the party
of former ruler Suharto and the party now trying to force Wahid to resign
or face impeachment proceedings for alleged corruption. Soldiers fired tear
gas to repel the angry mob, but later stood by as the Golkar headquarters
were set alight. President Wahid has called for peaceful, democratic means
to defeat his political opponents. But his supporters are not listening.
Meanwhile, President Wahid has sacked his Justice Minister who openly
called on the Indonesian leader to resign.

(8/02/01 7:01:18)
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Heightened political tension in Indonesia as riots continue

There are heightened political tensions in Indonesia after supporters of
President Abdurrahman Wahid went on a rampage for a fifth day.

Mark Bowling reports from Surabaya in East Java .. where soldiers fired
tear gas to try to repel a crowd destroying an opposition party
headquarters:

An angry mob trashed the regional headquarters of the opposition Golkar
Party. Soldiers fired tear gas to repel the rioters, but outnumbered by
thousands of supporters of President Wahid, troops stood by as the building
was set alight. Leaders of Golkar and other opposition parties are now
trying to force President Wahid to resign, or face impeachment proceedings
for alleged corruption. Radical supporters of the Indonesian leader say
they will fight to the last drop of blood to defend him. For his part,
President Wahid has called for peaceful democratic means to defeat his
political opponents. Meanwhile, President Wahid has sacked his justice
minister, who openly called on the Indonesian leader to resign.

(8/02/01 11:16:03)
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Australia wants Indonesia to maintain democratic institutions

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says Australia wants to see
Indonesia preserve its newly acquired democratic institutions during
political turmoil there.

As opponents of Indonesia's President, Abdurrahman Wahid, seek his
resignation over corruption allegations, protesters have rioted in support
of him in East Java.

Mr Downer says it's important that the Indonesian constitution be observed
to maintain political stability:

WE ALSO OF COURSE ARE VERY STRONG SUPPORTERS OF DEMOCRACY IN INDONESIA, AND
IT'S OUR VIEW THAT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE NEW DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS
THAT ARE BEING PUT IN PLACE IN RECENT TIMES THAT THOSE DEMOCRATIC
INSTITUTIONS ARE ABLE TO BE MAINTAINED, THAT THERE ISN'T ANY CHALLENGE TO
THE DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY OF INDONESIA.

(8/02/01 13:00:48)
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Pro-President demonstrations continue in East Java

Thousands of supporters of Indonesia's president in East Java have ignored
his calls for calm and continued demonstrating.

Many supporters also gathered in the central Java city of Jogjakarta where
hundreds of police are guarding the local office of the rival Golkar Party.

For a second day, police fired warning shots to disperse a protest by
thousands of supporters of the President.

Police in the town of Lamongan said a mob of about 10,000 tried to attack a
local office of the rival Golkar Party, there were no reports of injuries
in the town.

President Wahid has called for calm, but also described the attacks as
understandable and a reflection of popular anger against the actions of the
legislature.

Defense Minister Mohamad Mahfud has called on Mr Wahid to go to East Java
and bring his supporters under control.

Mr Mafuh has been warning that the military might intervene if civil unrest
worsens.

(9/02/01 4:10:38)
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Indonesian President to try to defuse protests by supporters

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid will travel to East Java tomorrow in
an effort to calm his supporters there.

He will visit a small town near Indonesia's second largest city of
Surabaya, where protesters have rampaged over the past week.

Defence Minister Mohamad Mahfud has been urging Mr Wahid to go to the
region, which is his main support base, and stop the protests.

For a second consecutive day, police have fired warning shots to disperse
thousands of supporters in the town of Lamongan.

Police say a mob of about 10,000 tried to attack an office of the rival
Golkar Party, that is backing moves to impeach Mr Wahid for alleged
corruption.

Yesterday, police fired tear gas and warning shots against a massive
pro-Wahid crowd that burned a Golkar office in the East Java capital,
Surabaya.

Thousands of pro-Wahid protesters have also marched through the ancient
Central Java city of Jogjakarta.

(9/02/01 4:10:40)





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