Students Stage Anti-Wahid Protests in three Indonesian Cities
Thousands of students took to the streets of three cities on Friday, calling on President Abdurrahman Wahid to resign, police and witnesses said.
Some 1,000 Muslim students rallied outside the state Gajah Mada University in the central Java city of Yogyakarta, where the beleaguered Wahid is on an official visit, a local journalist said.
Police turned water cannons on the students to stop them breaking through a police cordon around the campus. No casualties were reported in the standoff.
In another anti-Wahid protest, some 3,000 students rallied outside the parliament office in Makassar, also calling on Wahid to resign, police commissioner Damiin told AFP.
"Students from almost all universities in Makassar are protesting," he said.
Also in Makassar, an estimated 100 student protestors stripped Wahid's pictures off the walls of government offices, the Satunet news website reported.
The protestors, who urged Wahid to resign or be impeached, then handed the pictures to the local parliament.
In Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, some 2,000 Muslim youths marched through the streets of the country's second largest city, toward the provincial government office, condemning riots which occurred during a week of pro-Wahid protests earlier this month.
They were mostly members of the Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Islamic organization.
Several schools affiliated to the Muhammadiyah were vandalized during a week of often-violent protests by Wahid's fanatical supporters in East Java, the president's political heartland earlier in February.
"The government is responsible for the sorry state the country is in," the protestors said in a statement handed out to journalists.
The group also urged parliament to investigate the riots, which have been blamed on members of the 40-million strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim group that Wahid once led.
NU members were angered by a censure motion issued against Wahid by parliament on February 1, which has implicated the president in two corruption scandals concerning misuse of funds worth almost six million dollars.
The president has denied the charges and vowed to serve out the rest of his term until 2004.
The NU has denied its members were behind the rampages in East Java, during which offices of the opposition Golkar party were torched or ransacked – JAKARTA (AFP)
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