New earthquake shakes Sumatra

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The Independent Online

A new magnitude 6.2 offshore earthquake rocked Sumatra today as angry victims of a massive temblor five days ago protested the government's slow response to the disaster that killed about 100 people and left thousands homeless.

A new magnitude 6.2 offshore earthquake rocked Sumatra today as angry victims of a massive temblor five days ago protested the government's slow response to the disaster that killed about 100 people and left thousands homeless.

Residents ran screaming from buildings in the devastated town of Bengkulu, but there were no immediate reports of new damage or injuries.

The quake hit at 6.45 a.m. at a new epicenter beneath the Indian Ocean, about 125 miles southeast of Bengkulu, the Indonesian Meteorological and Geophysical Service reported.

Soon after, a mob of about 100, left homeless by Sunday's magnitude 7.9 temblor, blocked a key road near the town, about 300 miles northwest of Jakarta.

They complained that the government was neglecting them even as foreign aid was pouring into the quake zone.

The protesters carried sticks and rocks as weapons and used rubble from their damaged homes to barricade the road.

"The government is no good. No aid has reached here yet. We need tents food and medicine," said Yudi, 40, one of the protesters. His 5-year-old son was injured and his home flattened in Sunday's quake.

"There are many here who are injured and many houses have been destroyed. We have to take action to make the government understand that we need help," he said.

About 30 armed police struggled to diffuse tensions as protesters scuffled with annoyed motorists. Only a car of Singaporean military aid workers was allowed through the road blocks.

"We are hungry, we are sick. Why doesn't the government care?" read one protest banner.

On top of the death toll a further 1,900 people were injured as a result of Sunday;s quake, according to estimates by the emergency government taskforce.

There have been hundreds of aftershocks since the initial earthquake. Despite continuing fears that buildings may collapse, life is returning to a degree of normality in Bengkulu. Most shops are now open.

However, the latest quake was centered in a different area of ocean from Sunday's temblor and was not classified as an aftershock, the geophysical service said.

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