Twelve students killed by troops in Jakarta

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The Independent Online
AT LEAST 12 people were killed, more than 150 injured and parts of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, were in a state of anarchy earlier this morning as troops fired indiscriminately on unarmed democracy demonstrators.

As late as 3am, elite combat troops of the Indonesian army were continuing their attacks, firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon upon the protesters.

At least three students from the Catholic Atma Jaya University were killed in the afternoon when soldiers broke up a march on the national parliament building by firing rubber bullets at short range. Later reports suggested that at least nine other people, including a woman reporter for a local radio station, had died during subsequent battles.

Throughout last night ambulances carried injured people into the city's hospitals.

After dark, student demonstrators and locals from nearby slums counter- attacked with petrol bombs and stones.

Speaking in a television interview, the Muslim opposition leader, Amien Rais, said: "The situation is chaotic. Itlooks as if we were having a civil war."

The demonstrators were protesting about a gathering of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Indonesia's upper house of parliament, which concluded a four-day meeting yesterday that was intended to bring democracy to the country after the resignation in May of the former dictator, President Suharto.

In a series of decrees, the MPR agreed that Suharto should be investigated for corruption, that the army's role in politics should be reduced and that elections should be held by the end of next June.

But the students had been demanding his prompt trial and an immediate elimination of the military's guaranteed parliamentary seats. It was the worst day of violence since the riots that forced Suharto to resign.

Student deaths, page 14