INDONESIA: Students demand military, Golkar leave politics

Issue 

Over the last week, Indonesian students have been demonstrating almost daily in front of the central Jakarta home of the former Indonesian dictator Suharto. They are calling for Suharto — who was formally charged with embezzling state funds on August 3 — to be tried immediately.

On August 10, the students turned their attention to the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), where they also demanded the abolition of the 38 armed forces seats in parliament and the sacking of parliamentarians from Suharto's Golkar party.

According to the Jakarta daily Kompas, a number of groups demonstrated separately in front of the MPR building. One of the groups, the Islamic Student Front, was supporting a motion before the MPR to amend Indonesia's 1949 constitution to require the implementation of the Islamic Law for Muslims.

Around 200 demonstrators from the National Student League for Democracy and the Independent Election Monitoring Committee called for the abolition of the dual (social and political) role of the military and for the abolition of the military's seats in parliament.

By JAMES BALOWSKI