Hundreds attack governor's office over Indonesian fuel price hike

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hundreds of students have invaded a provincial government office in Indonesia as anger intensified in the country against national fuel price hikes.

Hundreds of students have invaded a provincial government office in Indonesia as anger intensified in the country against national fuel price hikes.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the attack in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, about 800 miles north east of Jakarta. Witnesses said the students marched from a nearby university campus where they had burned two cars and set up roadblocks. Many then gathered outside the city's provincial government building.

They smashed windows with rocks before breaking down doors and vandalizing the office. It was not immediately clear where the provincial governor was at the time of the attack.

The Indonesian government has cut long-held subsidies and raised fuel prices by an average of 12 percent. Indonesia, which is Southeast Asia's largest oil producer, has some of the lowest fuel prices in the world thanks to the subsidies introduced by Suharto, the former dictator who was ousted in 1998.

But it is committed under its agreement with the International Monetary Fund to reduce subsidies as part of a reform program to overcome its worst economic crisis in decades.

Hundreds of townspeople later joined the protest in the center of the city of about 800,000 while another group peacefully demonstrated outside Makassar airport.

About 1,000 police were deployed but did not clash with the protesters, Makassar police chief Superintendent Arianto Budiardjo said. It was the second day of protest in the city, previously known as Ujung Pandang.

Police had already fired warning shots and used tear gas to break up demonstrators and five students were wounded. There have been other protests elsewhere in Indonesia, but most have been non- violent.

Comments