Anarchy warning by chief of army

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The Independent Online
Jakarta - The commander of the Indonesian armed forces warned of the dangers of anarchy yesterday and soldiers made more than 30 arrests a day after riots left at least two people dead and a dozen buildings in the centre of Jakarta gutted. They were the worst disturbances for 30 years, writes Richard Lloyd Parry.

In a statement broadcast on national radio, General Feisal Tanjung blamed the violence on "irresponsible people and groups whose activities are devoted to a kind of anarchy".

Soldiers and marines carrying rifles patrolled the streets close to the offices of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), where 176 supporters of the ousted PDI chairman, Megawati Sukarnoputri, were arrested after police broke up a month-long sit-in on Saturday morning.

There were sporadic incidents of violence and dozens of arrests yesterday, although nothing to compare with Saturday's violence.

Forty people, including a BBC cameraman, were struck with batons when riot police charged 250 demonstrators outside the offices of the Indonesia Legal Aid Centre. Some 12 people were arrested. In the Salemba district, near the University of Indonesia, a dozen more bleeding protesters were driven away in army trucks after a clash with marines in the burned-out offices of a phone company.

There were varying rumours about the number of people killed over the weekend but the military commander for Jakarta, Major-General Sutiyoso said that, in addition to injuries to 26 people, there were two deaths: a man who died after jumping from a burning bank building and another who suffered a heart attack during the disturbances.