Indonesia crisis: Riots, looting and student protest: The fall of an autocrat

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The Independent Online
27 July 1996: Riots in Jakarta after Megawati Sukarnoputri is ousted by the government as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party.

July 1997: The Indonesian rupiah collapses.

January and February 1998: Mobs loot Chinese shops after price rises are announced.

10 March: In spite of growing student demonstrations, Suharto is unanimously re-elected by the tame People's Consultative Assembly.

5-7 May: Police shoot dead looters in the city of Medan after riots triggered by a rise in the price of fuel oil.

12 May: Police shoot dead six student protesters at Jakarta's elite Trisakti University.

14-15 May: 500 people die and tens of thousands go on a looting spree in central Jakarta.

18 May: Students demanding Suharto's resignation occupy parliament. The House speaker calls on him to step down.

19 May: Protesters denounce Suharto after a speech in which he promises to step down after new elections.

20 May: Protesters cancel street demonstrations in Jakarta. But 700,000 turn out in other cities, and students overrun parliament. The speaker, Harmoko, says he will summon parliament if Suharto does not resign. Fourteen members of Suharto's cabinet, resign. General Wiranto, commander of the armed forces, visits Suharto. The President retreats to his home in central Jakarta.

Yesterday: At 5am, abandoned by his supporters, Suharto decides to resign. At 9am there is a television announcement. Vice-president B J Habibie is sworn in as the new president. The opposition leader Amien Rais calls on students to accept him. They remain at the parliament, chanting anti- Habibie slogans. At 7.30pm, an address is broadcast by President Habibie promising democratic reform.