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Students hold vigil in memory of killings

Agence France Presse - February 21, 1999

Jakarta – Scores of Indonesian students held a vigil at a university here Sunday to mark 100 days after the violent shooting of student demonstrators late last year.

"This moral movement will become the basis for continued student actions in the streets to unveil the truth of the Semanggi tragedy," a student, Delfi, from Kertanegara University told some 150 students at Atma Jaya Catholic University in downtown South Jakarta.

The Indonesian military opened fire on hundreds of protesting students on November 13 near the Semanggi traffic flyover and the adjacent Atma Jaya campus that left seven students dead. Fourteen more people were killed during the protest.

The memorial event, sponsored by the Students for Reform and Democracy Forum (Famred), which unites students from dozens of Jakarta universities, was attended by some 50 pedicab drivers.

"This is part of the political realization efforts for the public," Delfi said of the invitation to the drivers.

"The efforts to unveil the Semanggi tragedy cannot wait for the political will of General Wiranto as the military commander," the student activist added.

The demand for a more transparent investigation into the shooting was part of the student struggle "towards a more democratic Indonesia," Delfi said.

On Saturday some 50 Famred students attempted to walk from the Gambir railway station in Central Jakarta in separate groups to the nearby military police headquarters but were blocked by soldiers and police.

The military police, who are investigating the incident, have so far said they have been unable to identify who shot the students.

The student movement in February of 1998 began campaigning for the exit of former president Suharto, who stepped down in May after 32 years in power. Since May, the students have pushed for Suharto to be brought to trial for his alleged crimes in office and for the military to give up its role in political life.