Thousands of Indonesians Rally in Support of Embattled Wahid
Some 3,000 Muslim students took to the streets in Indonesia's East Java province on Sunday in support of embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid.
The protestors marched through the streets of Pasuruan district after staging a mass gathering which caused traffic congestion, the Detikcom online news portal reported.
The students vowed to defend Wahid "to the last drop of our blood," Detikcom said.
Most of the students were from Muslim schools affiliated to the 40-million strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Islamic group which Wahid chaired for 15 years before he was elected president.
Wahid has been under mounting pressure to step down and hand over to Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri after parliament censured him on Thursday for his alleged involvement in two corruption scandals.
NU chairman Hasyim Muzadi was quoted as saying by the Kompas daily on Sunday the censure had made it impossible for the group's leaders to rein in their members.
"I've said all along that once the parliament issues a (censure) memorandum, I will no longer have the power to hold them back," he said.
Daily protests have been held, mainly in Jakarta, to call for Wahid's resignation over his involvement in the scandals.
The censure could be the first step toward a lengthy impeachment process.
Amien Rais, chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), the country's top legislature, has called for an immediate special session of the upper house to impeach Wahid.
A parliamentary probe has found that Wahid could be suspected of involvement in the so-called "Bulogate" scandal and had lied in connection with another scandal dubbed the "Bruneigate" affair.
Bulogate concerns the theft of 3.9 million dollars from the state food distribution agency Bulog, allegedly by Wahid's masseur and one-time business partner.
Legislators have charged that Wahid, a virtually blind Muslim cleric, had knowledge of the illegal disbursement of Bulog's funds.
They have also accused him of inconsistency in explaining how he spent a two million dollar donation from the Sultan of Brunei -- JAKARTA (AFP)
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