Wahid Supporters Block Streets in East Java
Thousands of supporters of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid rallied for a fourth straight day Tuesday in at least two towns in East Java, blocking ferries to the Resort Island of Bali.
About 1,000 people occupied the parking lot at Ketapang port in Banyuwangi district for three hours, disrupting ship traffic between Bali and East Java, port administrator Zainuddin (Eds: one name) told AFP.
The protestors from the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Islamic group led by the president for 15 years, were angered by Wahid's censure by parliament last week over two financial scandals and moves by MPs to try to impeach him.
"This is dangerous. It can lead to civil war and bloodshed," NU provincial leader Ali Maschan Musa told AFP from the East Javan city of Surabay.
"There'll be horizontal conflict, between pro and anti-Wahid groups. There'll be killing among the small people. Especially in Java, the whole of Java including Jakarta."
In Jakarta as dusk fell Tuesday, dozens of student protestors set fire to a huge banner of the former ruling Golkar party they had hung on a pedestrian crossing bridge near the parliament complex.
Police stood by and the students -- who had earlier intended to march on the presidential palace but changed their minds -- left the complex without incident.
The students blame Golkar for the endemic corruption in the country that they say now taints Wahid.
On Monday hundreds of Wahid's supporters ran riot in three East Javan towns, trashing and torching Golkar offices.
The party's MPs were among politicians who advocated a damaging censure motion against Wahid over his alleged involvement in the two scandals.
Meanwhile, another 1,000 pro-Wahid protestors marched to the district parliament in Boyolali, the Detikcom news portal reported.
"Don't trigger us to revolt," read one of their banners.
Protestors Tuesday also pelted a college campus affiliated to the second largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, and destroyed its sign. No casualties were reported in the incidents.
Wahid's arch political rival, national assembly speaker Amien Rais, once chaired the Muhammadiyah.
Rais, who led a loose alliance that helped catapult Wahid to power 15 months ago, has been at the forefront of calls for an immediate special session of the national assembly to impeach the president.
Wahid has been under mounting pressure to step down and hand over to Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri, whose Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) party holds the largest bloc of seats in the 500-seat lower house.
A parliamentary probe found Wahid could "be suspected of" involvement in one scandal -- dubbed Bulogate -- and had made inconsistent statements in connection with the spending of a two-million dollar donation from the Sultan of Brunei.
Bulogate concerns the theft of 3.9 million dollars from the state food distribution agency Bulog, allegedly by Wahid's masseur.
Despite the censure and mounting calls for his resignation, Wahid, a virtually blind Muslim cleric, has pledged to serve out his term until 2004, saying the people still support him.
Wahid has also claimed he still has the backing of Megawati, who has remained silent on the issue, and the military -- JAKARTA (AFP)
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