Jakarta – Some 1,000 East Timor students rallied Saturday against Indonesian rule in provincial capital Dili and called for a referendum on self-determination, following a day of similar protests here.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
June 13, 1998
Don Greenlees – More than 250 prisoners in Dili's Becora jail refuse to return to their cells for the past nine days and have eaten little food as part of a protest calling for political reforms, human rights activists said yesterday.
Jakarta – Fresh violence has broken out in a small town in the Indonesian province of Central Java, with rioters damaging scores of shops and offices, reports received here said Saturday.
Lisbon – A former commander of the East Timorese separatist rebels, M'a Huno, was arrested late Friday in Dili and could be facing torture, a pro-independence East Timorese group warned Saturday.
In a statement sent to AFP in Lisbon, the Socialist Association of Timor said M'a Huno was arrested by Indonesian troops stationed in East Timor.
Mike Head – Some of the biggest American, European and Japanese transnational corporations have demanded – in no uncertain terms – that the regime headed by President B. J. Habibie protect their multi-billion-dollar investments in Indonesia that involve partnerships with Suharto family members.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Riot police yesterday violently broke up a Jakarta demonstration by about 1,500 East Timorese who were calling for a referendum on the future of the territory.
About 250 soldiers and police armed with guns, rattan sticks and riot shields dispersed the crowd of mainly students who had rallied in the grounds of the Foreign Ministry.
June 11, 1998
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – More than 2,000 student protesters gathered outside the Indonesian Parliament here yesterday demanding a special session to push forward political reforms in the country.
June 10, 1998
Robert Kroon - Muchtar Pakpahan, founder of Indonesia's first independent labor union, SBSI, in 1992, was imprisoned by the Suharto government for "subversive activities" in 1996. After Mr. Suharto stepped down on May 21, Mr. Pakpahan was one of the first political prisoners to be released.
Christopher Torchia, Dili – Rejecting a presidential promise of special status for their homeland within Indonesia, thousands of East Timorese demonstrated today for the right to vote for full independence.
More than 3,000 students and others gathered on the grounds of the state-funded University of East Timor.
Seth Mydans, Jakarta – Human rights and women's aid groups have begun to document what they say appears to have been an organized campaign of assaults, gang rapes and killings of ethnic Chinese women during three days of rioting in Jakarta last month.
Seven days of anti-government protest on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have led to all 46 members of the local legislature agreeing to resign.
The protests were directed against the President, Dr Jusuf Habibie, and Bali's former governor, Mr Ida Bagus Oka, who is now Population Minister, the Jakarta Post reported today.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists condemns Bob Hassan's action in closing the tabloid, ParOn, on 9 June 1998.
As the owner of the weekly tabloid, Hassan took the decision without any prior discussion with the journalists and workers.
June 9, 1998
Nicole Gaouette, Jakarta – They noticed the grenade after lunch. It lay just inside the courtyard, a tiny space crammed with boxes, cars, volunteers on break, and two warbling songbirds in cages.
As many as 10,000 striking workers scuffled with, and threw rocks at, anti-riot police when they staged a 10km march through the streets of Indonesia's second city, Surabaya, yesterday.
Police and witnesses said violence broke out when a line of police blocked the path of the marchers as they approached East Java's provincial parliament building.
June 8, 1998
Semarang – Hundreds of leaders of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) have agreed to set up a political party – 14 years after Indonesia's largest Islamic organization shunned politics.
Keith B. Richburg, Jakarta – Indonesia Elang Mulya Lesmana's parents first noticed changes in their son at the beginning of April. He started reading newspapers, asking questions about the country's economic decline, becoming more politically aware.
Habibie does not have a firm grip on economic policy or political power. If the country does not return to stability soon, say Peter Montagnon and Sander Thoenes, it could be set back years
A report just received by ETISC from reliable sources in Dili, East Timor confirms that a very significant gathering took place there on Saturday 6 June.
June 6, 1998
Cindy Shiner, Jakarta - From a noisy green tollbooth on the Winyoto highway, 26-year-old Yanto can pull in the equivalent of his daily salary in less than five minutes, collecting 30 cents a car. After half an hour, he has gathered an amount equal to a month's pay from the outstretched hands of the drivers.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – In the final days of the Soeharto regime, the Government made one last desperate attempt to maintain control of way the crisis was reported by ordering all television stations to submit their broadcasts for clearance to a Government-controlled "TV pool" which would ensure a "positive spin".
Robert Garran and Maria Ceresa – Fears are growing among analysts in Indonesia and Australia that a poor rice harvest and sharp fall in government rice stockpiles will spark more riots in Jakarta and rural areas.
June 5, 1998
Kontras, the Committee for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, has urged the Military Police to investigate thoroughly and with all haste the kidnapping of a number of activists. Further delays will only make it more difficult for several key witnesses to furnish statements. Delays are also spreading greater fear among the kidnapped activists who have since returned home.
Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia has secured an agreement with international banks to roll over its $US80bn ($128.8bn) in private sector foreign debt – a development which may help stabilise the ailing rupiah.
Jakarta – The National Commission or Human Rights will soon begin investigating reports that more than 39,000 Acehnese have died in various military operations over the past decade and that 1,000 (of) others are still in military detention in Indonesia's westernmost province.
Jakarta – More than 39,000 people have been killed in military operations against a separatist movement in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh in recent years, a rights group said.
June 4, 1998
Jakarta – Most of Indonesia's senior military officers in the troubled territory of East Timor died on Thursday in a helicopter crash, a military official said.
Jakarta – Student protesters shouted "Hang Suharto" outside Parliament and staged a rowdy protest in a main street yesterday, ignoring an appeal by the military chief to halt "out-of-control" condemnation of the ousted leader.
Mr Suharto, a former army general who turns 77 on Monday, faces growing demands to surrender riches accumulated during three decades in power.
Salil Tripathi, Jakarta – The highway stretched to the horizon. It was empty save for some shattered glass, burned tyres that had disintegrated into a heap of ash, and scattered bricks. The traffic lights at the toll plaza flashed amber; the tollgates were raised skyward in abject surrender.
John McBeth, Jakarta – One of the first casualties of the post-Suharto era was the former president's ambitious son-in-law, Lt.-Gen. Prabowo Subianto. Outflanked by his boss, armed-forces chief Gen. Wiranto, Prabowo was removed from his command of Indonesia's main combat force and assigned to head a staff college in Bandung.
Jakarta – Stranding passengers, hundreds of bus drivers in Jakarta went on strike Thursday to protest against corruption and demand higher salaries.
The Buskers Association of Yogyakarta (SPI) has called on armed forces commander-in-chief General Wiranto to investigate the death of Leonardus Nugroho Iskandar, known to his friends as Gilang, 24, a busker who was also a reformation activist in Solo. After going missing for two weeks, Gilang's body found on 23 May, lying under some trees on the side of the Tawangmangu-Madiun road.
Jakarta – Hundreds of striking bus drivers of the state-run PPD bus company gave a rousing welcome yesterday to released labor union chair-man Muchtar Pakpahan as he paid them an impromptu visit.
John Aglionby – A women's rights monitoring group in Indonesia is investigating reports that dozens of women were raped during the rioting last month that contributed to the downfall of the country's dictator, Suharto.
By John McBeth, Michael Vatikiotis and Margot Cohen in Jakarta – The Javanese King has gone, long live the President – but how long will B.J. Habibie remain president?
June 3, 1998
Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia's official human rights body said on Wednesday that 1,188 people were killed in rioting which ravaged the capital Jakarta last month, more than double the death toll given by the military.
The time has come for the Coalition government to withdraw all support for the corrupt New Order regime in Indonesia. Suharto may have gone, but the foundations of the Suharto dictatorship remain – foundations like the constitutional right of the army to intervene in politics and the outlawing of parties the dictatorship doesn't like.
The commander-in-chief of the armed forces (ABRI), General Wiranto , has issued a warning that people who fail to restrain themselves in their calls for reform will have to confront the armed forces.
Joseph Kahn – Almost immediately after becoming president of Indonesia, B.J. Habibie pledged to create "a clean government, free from corruption, collusion, and nepotism." But one of the biggest threats to his rule may be growing concern that he and his family, following the model of former President Suharto, used public office to amass a private fortune.
Surabaya – Hundreds of students marched yesterday afternoon to the private SCTV television station here demanding their demonstration for reform be broadcast and refused to budge until the station managers yielded.
June 2, 1998
Jakarta – President Jusuf Habibie has no plans to change Indonesia's policy on the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, the Jakarta Post reported on Tuesday.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – When dozens of people entered a spacious house on the Gunung Sahari street in a bustling part of Jakarta on May 14, they knew that the high-fenced building belonged to Indonesia's number one tycoon, Liem Sioe Liong a.k.a. Sudono Salim. "The dog of Suharto," brayed one visitor.
Jakarta – Indonesia's economy contracted by 8.51 percent in the first quarter of 1998, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
Sugito Suwito, the bureau's chairman, also predicted that gross domestic product (GDP) would shrink by 10.1 percent this year, compared to the government's prediction in April that the economy would contract by 5 percent this year.
At least 1,500 students took part in a free-speech assembly at the University of East Timor in Dili today, 1 June, according to a report received by TAPOL from local sources.
The event took place despite attempts by the University Rector, P. Theo T. Ralella to prevent it from happening.
In a speech to mark the anniversary of 'Pancasila Day', 1 June, Megawati Sukarnoputri said she is feeling deeply troubled to hear the terrible things people are now saying about former President Suharto. She cannot believe that Indonesians would treat their former president in such a way, which, she says, is not in keeping with the Pancasila.
While Suharto's business associates spread far beyond his immediate family, the most intense focus of the crackdown is bound to be the businesses of his six children.
Jakarta – Emboldened by the success of student demonstrations for reform in major cities, fishermen, farmers and other groups are holding rallies to call attention to their own causes.
June 1, 1998
Xanana Gusmao, ex-leader of the East Timorese guerrilla fighters who reject integration with Indonesia, has said that the Suharto regime is responsible for most of the problems in East Timor.
Jakarta – Students in several cities, in a move resembling their colleagues' stand in Jakarta recently, are occupying local legislative councils to make their demands heard.
Jakarta – The Indonesian military has scheduled for Saturday the court martials of 19 soldiers suspected of gunning down student demonstrators on May 12, a report said Monday.
George J. Aditjondro – Rays of hope of Indonesia's democracy seem to emerge. Two of Habibie's relatives – a brother and a son – have stepped down from powerful public offices, four political prisoners have been released, and promises of a new election law and the repeal of the repressive press censor law have been made.