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Thousands of students protest Suharto

Agence France Presse - March 10, 1998 (extracts only)

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian students greeted President Suharto's re-appointment as president with jhoisy but peaceful demonstrations across the country.

Tight security was in force at many of the campuses, but troops and riot police did not intervene as the authorities maintained their tolerance of demonstrations within university grounds.

At the private National Development University here, some 200 students protested against Suharto's return to office, a university staff member said.

At the Christian University more than 100 students were marching around their eastern Jakarta campus carrying a chair draped with a red cloth and inscribed with the slogan: 'The result of manipulation, protest is forbidden.'

More than 1,000 students rallied peacefully in front of the library of the state Teachers' University here, a witness said.

In the East Java province capital, Surabaya, some 1,000 students rallied at the state Airlangga University campus to express concern over economic and political conditions, a witness said. The students listened to speeches by several of their lecturers. Four truckloads of anti-riot police backed by soldiers were guarding the campus's three main gates.

Rallies also took place on the campuses of the Surabaya Institute of Technology and the 17 August University which also included teachers and university staff, residents said.

In the West Sumatra province capital of Padang, more than 1,000 Bung Hatta University students rallied for about two hours, demanding reforms and protesting Suharto's re-appointment, a resident said. In a statement read at the rally, they delivered a no-confidence motion against the legislatures, including the MPR, saying 'they have to change their function' (because) they were 'irresponsive to the people's aspirations'. 'Is this a republic or a kingdom?' one poster said.

More than 1,000 students at the Islamic University of Bandung joined forces with students of the University of Pasundan in the West Java capital of Bandung and rallied on a street in front of the univesity to protest Suharto's re-appointment and call for reforms, a security guard said. A rally was also held at the state Bandung Institute of Technology.