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Students march to Suharto's residence

Agence France Presse - November 19, 1998

Jakarta – Some 3,000 students Thursday began to march in central Jakarta in the second attempt this week to protest outside the posh residence of fallen Indonesian president Suharto.

The students, wearing their distinctive university jackets and carrying national flags and university banners, marched in a group with those on the outside forming a human chain to prevent non-students from infiltrating their ranks.

Scores of marines walked with them, an AFP reporter said . More than 150 soldiers from various units, including shield and stick carrying soldiers from the Jakarta command, were on standby at a park on the demonstrators's route. Several students were also waiting at the park for their comrades to arrive.

Scores of soldiers in knots of 20 guarded major intersections leading to Suharto's residence in the smart residential area of Menteng in central Jakarta as a helicopter circled the sky above.

A first attempt by a smaller group of some 40 students on Monday was scuttled after heavy security blocked their advance halfway. The students blame Suharto for the country's current troubles and are demanding that he be brought to trial. They have also charged that the 77-year-old former leader continues to pull strings behind the scenes, and was behind efforts to foil the country's reform drive.

Another group of at least 300 students gathered in front of the Atma Jaya Catholic University where the bloody clashes that claimed 14 lives on Friday took place, another AFP reporter said.

Armed members of the marines were also milling among the crowd of students, while soldiers from the Jakarta command and police watched from from a nearby overpass. The students appeared also to be planning to join the crowd at central Jakarta, the witness said.