Riot after Suharto ignores inquiry

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The Independent Online

Indonesian police and students in Jakarta fought oneanother with sticks, rocks and tear gas yesterday, after the country's former president, Suharto, refused for a second time to submit to interrogation about crimes committed during his three decades in power.

Several demonstrators were injured and dozens were arrested as they marched to the exclusive Menteng area of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, where Suharto has lived in seclusion since similar demonstrations forced him to resign two years ago.

For the second time this year, he ignored a summons from the office of the Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman, to appear for questioning yesterday morning about massive corruption allegedly perpetrated by the dictator and his associates during his 32 years in power. His lawyers insist that speech problems caused by a minor stroke last year have left him unable to answer complex questions, although an independent team of doctors reported this month that he is medically fit. If he ignores a third summons, Mr Darusman could issue a subpoena against him.

Tension in Jakarta is high this week in advance of a 12 per cent rise in the cost of fuel due to come into effect tomorrow.