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Rioters to be shot on sight in Java

Agence France Presse - December 14, 1998

Jakarta – The head of police in the Indonesian province of Central Java has ordered his forces to shoot rioters on sight after a mob rampage in Solo, a report said here Monday.

"I have issued a shoot-on-sight order against rioters in Central Java," police chief Major General Nurfaizi was quoted by the Media Indonesia daily as saying in Solo, Central Java, on Sunday

Nurfaizi was speaking a few hours after visiting the site of Sunday's riot that erupted following police efforts to disperse a motorcycle drag race late on Saturday.

More than 1,OOO people, mostly youths, resisted police attempts to disperse them, including by firing warning shots, and pelted the police with stones. The Suara Pembaruan evening daily said Sunday at least seven people were injured as the police used clubs to halt the race and disperse onlookers.

Police also seized several motorcycles left when their owners fled the scene. The crowd, angered by the beating and the seizure of the motorcycles, began to fight back by pelting the police with stones.

It then started to march on Slamet Riyadi street, Solo's main avenue, vandalizing police posts and public telephone booths on their way. Crowds and convoys of motorcycles attempted to attack the regional police headquarters but dispersed after warning shots were fired, the Suara Pembaruan evening daily has said.

They burned and vandalized traffic signs, bus shelters, police booths and public telephones as well as a bank outlet at a market, the daily said. The mob dispersed after two hours when military-backed police reinforcements arrived. Police detained 60 people but released them hours later after they were given advises and guidance.

Solo was hit by violent rioting in May that left most of the shops and businesses along Slamet Riyadi gutted and looted.