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Rallies against Aceh parliament

Agence France Presse - June 23, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Huge convoys of cars and motorcycles criss-crossed the capital of Indonesia's restive Aceh province yesterday in a mass protest demanding the dissolution of district and provincial parliaments, reports said.

The noisy convoys started from the front of the provincial parliament building in Bandah Aceh, which has been occupied by hundreds of protesters since Saturday to press for the disbanding of the legislature, said the Antara news agency.

The convoys, packed with local residents, students and pro-democracy activists, drove through Banda Aceh's main streets with the participants displaying posters and banners and shouting their demands.

No incidents of violence were reported, and uniformed Indonesian security forces appeared to be absent from the streets used by the convoys. Calls for the dissolution of the legislature in Aceh have been mounting, with protesters alleging that legislators served only the central government's interests and failed to contribute to solving conflict in the violence-plagued province. The demonstrators have also urged native Acehnese serving in the national parliament to resign.