Jakarta: Students and riot police clashed again on Wednesday in Indonesia's capital, in a growing uprising against IMF measures embraced by President Suharto.
For the second day, police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition into crowds, badly wounding at least 10 people, student activists said. On Tuesday, security forces shot dead six student demonstrators.
Wednesday's violence broke out after students clashed with police following a massive memorial service for the dead protesters at Jakarta's Trisakti University, the site of Tuesday's shootings. The demonstration began peacefully at around 10am in the campus. About 10,000 people gathered inside the campus to mourn the six students killed by police yesterday.
High-profile opposition leaders, including Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno, joined the mourners. ``We are a people who love peace. But what we want most is our right to freedom,'' said Megawati,
Amien Rais, the leader of Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, in an emotional tribute to the slain students, appealed to the armed forces to refrain from shooting. Mr Rais said that ABRI (the armed forces) faced two choices "to protect an individual and his family, or the nation as a whole".
In a national television broadcast, Vice President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie extended his ``deepest condolences'' to the families of the dead and called for restraint among Indonesia's 200 million people. The Indonesian armed forces are reportedly in the process of setting up their own investigation into the shootings.
The clash occured after security forces encountered them while they were going out of the campus at about 4.40 pm. Violence spilled over into the surrounding area as the crowd burned vehicles and pelted buildings with stones, blocking the main highway to Jakarta's international airport. One man died from a head injury and nine other people have been injured.
Major roads were blocked as hundreds of rioters threw rocks and bottles at police. They set up makeshift roadblocks and lit bonfires as night fell. The military cordoned off a large area embracing the toll road, the Trisakti campus and the Ciputra shopping mall in a bid to stop the crowds from swelling.
Water cannons dispersed unruly crowds as armed troops climbed down ropes from helicopters on to the roof of one of the Trisakti campus buildings. Others were injured in police baton charges at several flash points across Jakarta, a city of 11 million.
In a demonstration yesterday afternoon at Atmajaya University in central Jakarta, office workers streamed out of their workplaces to express solidarity with the students. Witnesses said thousands of people had also taken to the streets in the Grogol district of West Jakarta, hurling rocks and other debris at security force members.
Violent unrest was also reported in several other Indonesian cities, including the university town of Yogyakarta, 260 miles east of Jakarta, where police fired warning shots above angry crowds.
Violence also broke out last week after Suharto imposed tough new austerity measures under a $43 billion rescue plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund.
In another development, the European Union (EU) has demanded Indonesia
investigate the deaths of the student protesters. The EU has described
the recent upsurge in violence and loss of life in Indonesia as disturbing,
and has called on the local authorities to refrain from using lethal force.