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Students take over radio station

Sydney Morning Herald - May 16, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of students and other demonstrators occupied the state Radio Republik Indonesia station at Semarang in Central Java and forced their demands to be broadcast, a report said yesterday.

An announcer read out the five demands on Friday and the broadcast was repeated an hour later, the official Antara news agency said.

The demands included immediate comprehensive reforms, the lowering of prices, the convening of a special meeting of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) and a call for the military not to use force.

The thousands of demonstrators had earlier marched through Semarang. Shops and businesses closed in anticipation of unrest.

The demonstrators forced offices and houses along their route to fly the national flag at half mast to honour the six students who died in a peaceful protest in Jakarta on Tuesday after security forces opened fire on them.

Another group of demonstrators protested at the governor's office in Semarang.

In Bandung, West Java, tens of thousands of students and others converged on the Parliament complex and held a free speech forum there, the Bandung-based Pikiran Rakyat daily said.

The protesters demanded a convening of a special session of the MPR and said President Soeharto should not delay his resignation.

A group of senior politicians and critics of the Government earlier this week called on the MPR to revoke its March decision to appoint Mr Soeharto as President for a seventh consecutive five-year term.