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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 8, 1998

Australian Financial Review - May 8, 1998

Geoffrey Barker – Australia moved to distance itself from Indonesia's rulers yesterday as a prominent Australian expert warned that continuing economic and ethnic crisis could turn Indonesians towards ruthless, demagogic leadership.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - May 8, 1998

Defiant Indonesian students called for the execution of President Suharto Friday as police and soldiers cracked down on the escalating nationwide protests with baton charges and hails of rubber bullets.

Reuters - May 8, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian financial markets were edgy on Friday on renewed student protests and on continued unrest and looting in cities in north Sumatra.

Students ignored a call from the Indonesia's powerful military chief to halt their protests and staged a mock trial of President Suharto in Jakarta on Friday, condemned him to death and burned him in effigy.

Agence France Presse - May 8, 1998

Jim Mannion, Washington – The United States called off a military training exercise with Indonesia and is reviewing all other scheduled joint military activities because of concern over political unrest there, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

May 7, 1998

Agence France Presse - May 7, 1998

The influential Association of Indonesia Muslim Intellectuals. ICMI, has called for sweeping political reforms in the wake of escalating violent protests, reports said Thursday.

President Suharto's latest reform proposals were "vague, too litte and too late", the ICMI statement saidm in a statement called for a cabinet reshuffle.

Far Easter Economic Review - May 7, 1998

Margot Cohen with John McBeth, Jakarta – The offer was on the table: silence or death. A petrified Pius Lustrilanang did not hesitate. He promised to keep his mouth shut about his two months in captivity in a detention centre outside Jakarta, and his kidnappers rewarded him with a plane ticket home to south Sumatra.

Jakarta Post - May 7, 1998

Medan – Rioting spread to nearby towns yesterday as parts of the North Sumatran capital remained tense.

East Medan's Tebung commercial area was littered with glass and debris yesterday evening after scores of shops had earlier been looted and set on fire by hundreds of rioters.

Jakarta Post - May 7, 1998

Jakarta – Former cabinet minister Siswono Yudohusodo stressed the necessity of immediate political and economic reforms yesterday, indicating that a cabinet reshuffIe may be needed to help defuse the national crisis.

Sydney Morning Herald - May 7, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian police shot and wounded at least two people during riots in Medan yesterday, as the North Sumatran capital was hit by a third consecutive day of mob violence sparked by steep increases in fuel and transport prices.

Agence France Presse - May 7 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of workers across Indonesians went on strike demanding wage increase after hikes in fuel, electricity and staple food prices, reports said on Thursday. About 4,000 workrs staged a rally in front of two ceramics factories in the greater Jakarta area town of Tangerang, demanding higher improved benefits and more transparent hiring policies.

May 6, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - May 6, 1998

By Robyn Dixon in Melbourne and Jennifer Hewett in Washington

The IMF's managing director, Mr Michel Camdessus, has expressed "deep concern" over the rioting in Indonesia, but said the real cause of unrest was not price rises, but the deeper economic management problems which had led to the crisis in the first place.

Reuters - May 6, 1998

Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Riots in the North Sumatran capital of Medan shook Indonesia for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, with local reporters saying at least six people were killed in blazing buildings or by gunfire from security forces.

May 5, 1998

MateBEAN - May 5, 1998

Semarang – Jail sentences of between 3 and 4 years were sought for four East Timorese students undergoing trial in Semarang, Central Java on charges of possessing explosives. The foru students, Domingus Natalino, Joaqim Santana, Fernao Pedro Malta and Ivo Salvador were charged under Article No. 12/DRT/1951 of the Criminal Code, and Article No.

Associated Press - May 5, 1998 (abridged)

Christopher Torchia, Jakarta – Thousands of rioters burned cars and looted stores in an Indonesian city today and police battled rock-throwing students in the capital as sharp hikes in the cost of fuel and transport kicked in.

Kompas - May 5, 1998 (summary from Tapol)

Four activists who were arrested on 9 March while taking part in a small demonstration in Jakarta went on trial at the Central Jakarta district court, charged with carrying out political activities.

Reuters - May 5, 1998

K. Baranee Krishnaan, Kuala Lumpur – US ambassador to Malaysia John Malott said on Tuesday he would not tolerate another violent entry into his embassy by asylum seekers after eight Indonesians broke in last month and fought with embassy staff.

Jakarta Post - May 5, 1998

Jakarta – Alumni from 48 leading universities and institutions have thrown their weight behind student rallies for reform and vowed to establish a special network to aid families whose relatives "disappear".

Lusa - May 5, 1998

Dili – Four Timorese youth were shot dead last week in Maubara, 50 km west of Dili, religious sources at the territory said on Monday.

According to several sources quoted by Agence France Press, local militias armed by the Indonesian forces allegedly executed the four youth.

AFX-ASIA - May 5, 1998

Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court has sentenced 11 activists to nearly two months in jail for taking part in a street protest here in February, the Jakarta Post daily said.

Jakarta Post - May 5, 1998

Jakarta – Female workers have become the prime target of lay-offs and dismissals in Greater Jakarta, a women's organization said.

The Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (APIK), which has been monitoring labor relations in Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi, said over the weekend that pregnant workers were the number one target of dismissals.

Jakarta Post - May 5, 1998

Jakarta – More than 200 workers and labor activists staged a protest at the head quarters of the All-Indonesia Workers Union Federation (FSPSI), demanding an increase in the minimum wage, the resignation of the federation's leaders and lower prices for basic commodities.

May 4, 1998

Kyodo - May 4, 1998

Christine T. Tjandraningsih, Jakarta – The Indonesian government Monday announced an increase in public transportation fares, only a few hours after it announced price hikes for fuel and electricity in accordance with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendation to reduce government subsidies for the two commodities.

South China Morning Post - May 4, 1998

Jakarta – Clashes between students demanding political reform and security forces in three towns at the weekend left 77 policemen and at least 60 students injured, six by rubber-coated bullets, reports said yesterday.

American Reporter - May 4, 1998

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – One of Indonesian President Suharto's favorite pasttimes is to have a talk in front of farmers, small traders and villagers, known locally as "temu wicara," a phrase which translates as a "gathering to talk."

May 3, 1998

Straits Times - May 3, 1998

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – In nationwide rallies yesterday, thousands of Indonesian students protested against President Suharto's decision to rule out major political reforms in the next five years.

Reuters - May 3, 1998

Mantik Kusjanto, Jakarta – The IMF's executive board is expected to give Indonesia's reform programme its seal of approval on Monday, but economic analysts said even this was unlikely to stimulate the country's battered financial markets.

They said politics was the key issue setting the direction for the rupiah currency, as well as implementation of economic reforms.

Kompas - May 3, 1998

Jakarta - Dozens of higher education institutes in the area of Jabotabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi) simultaneously staged actions of concern which were highlighted by clashes with the security apparatus at various campuses on Saturday (2/5).

May 2, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - May 2, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – In a clear warning to Indonesia's growing opposition, President Soeharto has insisted there will be no political reform for at least five years and indicated his government will crack down on attempts to disrupt national stability.

The Australian - May 2, 1998

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – On Sunday March 8, Haryanto Taslam joined the list of Indonesian political activists to go suddenly missing. Soon before he disappeared he received a telephone call at his home in East Jakarta and told his wife, Ani Agustina, he was going out.

Washington Post - May 2, 1998

Paul Blustein – The Clinton administration, worried that political upheaval in Indonesia could wreck the country's international economic rescue, is warning the government of President Suharto to show restraint in dealing with student demonstrations and other forms of dissent.

May 1, 1998

Jakarta Post - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – Waves of student protests critical of the government and demanding sweeping reforms were unrelenting yesterday, with clashes between students and security officers erupting on several campuses.

Kompas - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – The National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has come to the conclusion after observations that the persons who were reported missing, were caught and led away by force. They did not disappear of their own choice. Abductions are a serious violation of human rights. Komnas HAM has drawn the conclusion that an organized group were responsible for the abductions.

Kompas - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – A clash between the security apparatus and students staging actions of concern has now occurred at the Syarif hidayatullah Islamic Religion State Institute, Jakarta, on Thursday (30/4).

PBS Special Report - May 1998

[The following is an interview with Allan Nairn, Journalist and Indonesian Specialist by Danny Schechter.]

Schechter: Suharto is out. What happens now in Indonesia?

Nairn: Suharto is out, but the army is still there. It's the army who runs the police state. Until people break their power through protest, there is really no real chance for democracy.

New York Times - May 1, 1998 (slightly abridged)

By David E. Sanger and Nicholas D. Kristof

Washington – The United States is preparing to back a $1 billion payment in international emergency aid to Indonesia on Monday, despite evidence that President Suharto's family and friends are continuing to undermine efforts to break up the multi-billion dollar monopolies they control.

Straits Times - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) plans to sue Indonesian media, which suggested that the military was behind the disappearances of anti-Suharto activists, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.

April 29, 1998

Reuters - April 29, 1998

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Medan – Indonesian students protesting against the rule of President Suharto battled security forces for more than six hours in Medan Wednesday, torching a police motorcycle and hurling stones at troops.

Amnesty International - April 29, 1998

There are fears that both Cut Sari and M Hasyim, who have recently "disappeared", are being held in secret military custody in Aceh province and that their safety could be at grave risk.

SiaR - April 29, 1998

Mystery contiunes to envelop kidnapers and the location at which pro-democracy activist, Pius Lustrilanang, was detained and tortured.

April 28, 1998

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Washington – The United States said Tuesday the reported abduction and torture of an opposition activist in Indonesia was disturbing, and urged the Jakarta government to mount a full investigation.

"It's a disturbing story," State Department spokesman James Foley said of the case of Pius Lustrilanang, a 30-year-old student activist.

Human Rights Watch News Release - April 28, 1998

It is clear that the abductors of the 'disappeared' political activists systematically and repeatedly violated Indonesian law. How can the government expect students or anyone else to respect the law or the authority of the state when state security forces themselves engage in such flagrant human rights violations?

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Medan – Indonesian authorities released 13 students Tuesday after detaining them over one of the most intense protests yet against President Suharto.

AFX-ASIA - April 28, 1998

Tokyo – US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the lack of public participation in Indonesia's government aggravated the effect of the Asian financial crisis.

"We do not fully understand the causes of the financial crisis," Albright said.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 28, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – A secret interrogation centre where torture is used against political opponents of the Soeharto regime was revealed today to the Indonesian Human Rights Commission.

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Jakarta - A leading US human rights group on Tuesday denounced a series of disappearances of student activists demanding that President Suharto quit.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement sent to Reuters that senior army and police officers may have lied when they denied knowledge of missing students who later turned out to have been in their custody.

April 27, 1998

Reuters - April 27, 1998

Richard Waddington, Lisbon – East Timor's traditionally fractious resistance movements have united to elect jailed guerrilla chief Xanana Gusmao as leader of a new single front against Indonesian rule of the Pacific territory.

Jakarta Post - April 27, 1998

Jakarta – The amount of East Kalimantan ravaged by fires this year has increased to 442,800 hectares while timber revenue losses have reached Rp 8.27 trillion (US$1.06 billion), a news report said Saturday.

Reuters - April 27, 1998

Jakarta – Unemployment in Indonesia jumped to 13.5 million on April 24 from 8.8 million in March, according to the latest figures from the Manpower Department, the Republika newspaper reported on Monday.

April 26, 1998

Kompas - April 26, 1998

Jakarta – Andi Arief (27), Chairman of the Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy stated his preparedness to relate to the Military Police, where he all this time had been until he finally "stranded" and was declared detainee at the Police HQ last 17 April.

Reuters - April 26, 1998 (abridged)

Medan – Five Indonesian students were taken away by what student leaders said were plain clothes security officials and two others were injured in escalating protests demanding President Suharto quit, witnesses said on Sunday.