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Army quells riots

Sydney Morning Herald - April 8, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The central Javanese town of Pekalongan was under military control yesterday after further political riots over the weekend which left at least five people injured and more than 60 shops and homes damaged or destroyed. At least 1,000 Muslims shouting "Allah is Great" went on the rampage on Sunday morning, breaking into shops and burning and looting, according to reports reaching Jakarta.

Pekalongan is a stronghold of the Muslim-orientated United Development Party (PPP), one of only two alternative parties permitted to stand in the upcoming national elections.

Witnesses said the riots began after a Muslim crowd began removing flags of the ruling Golkar Party of the Soeharto Government. Pekalongan was the only Javanese town where the PPP won a majority in the previous elections.

The mob attacked Christian and Chinese targets, burning and damaging homes and shops. Witnesses said a motor cycle dealership, a warehouse and a truck garage were broken into.