Rioters to be shot on sight

Jakarta - The Indonesian military yesterday issued shoot-on-sight orders against rioters here, but denied they intended to introduce a night curfew, writes Richard Lloyd Parry.

Major-General Sutiyoso, commander in the Indonesian capital, said the military would not tolerate any more disturbances and had ordered troops to open fire on anyone trying to disturb law and order.

Jakarta, on the face of it, was calm after the riots in recent days that left a dozen buildings burned out or vandalised. On Monday the Jakarta Stock Exchange suffered its biggest daily drop yet, of 3.6 per cent, and the value of the Indonesian rupiah plunged to a two-year low as offices and government ministries were evacuated in seven separate bomb scares.

Yesterday there were a couple of scares and the stock price slipped by a third of a percent, with the rupiah up against the US dollar.

Nicholas Burns, the US State Department spokesman, said Washington was "seriously disturbed by the use of violence to end what had been a peaceful assembly. The United States ... supports the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, respect for the rule of law and democratic processes. We call on the Indonesian government to ensure that these rights are protected in the future, and to guarantee that those arrested and detained in connection with these events are given due process of the law."

Officials of the opposition PDI said there might be more trouble tomorrow, when lawyers for Megawati Sukarnoputri, the ousted PDI head, will take her claim to leadership of the party to court.