Indonesians Protest Pricey Fuel : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

Indonesians protest pricey fuel

The Associated Press

MAKASSAR, Indonesia (October 3, 2000 11:22 a.m. EDT - Burning cars and smashing windows, hundreds of students angered by rising fuel prices vandalized a government office in Indonesia on Tuesday, witnesses said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the attack in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, about 800 miles northeast 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.

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 Superintendent Arianto Budiardjo said.

It was the second straight day of protest in the city, previously known as Ujung Pandang.

On Monday, police fired warning shots and used tear gas to break up demonstrators. Five students were wounded.

Protests have erupted elsewhere in Indonesia, including in the capital, Jakarta, where dozens of protesters damaged a car Tuesday outside the parliament building.

Some of the protesters said they wrecked the car because its owner had organized the demonstration against rising oil prices and had reneged on an agreement to pay each of them the equivalent of $6 to take part in it.

The vehicle's owner later paid the money.

There was no indication that the protesters at Makassar had been paid, although protest organizers often pay unemployed people and students to take part in their rallies.

On Sunday, the Indonesian government cut subsidies and raised fuel prices by an average of 12 percent. The price of a gallon of premium gasoline rose from 46 cents to 51 cents.

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.

Indonesia 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.

-- Rachel Gibson (, October 03, 2000


This makes no sense to me. Indonesia is producing less oil, but rolling in profits because it is a big exporter of oil, and the fast-increasing price is more than making up for its slowly decreasing production. But, they should have more than ample supplies for domestic consumption.

Yet, you have these riots protesting high prices.


-- JackW (, October 03, 2000.

Very puzzling to me is that Japan, which doesn't produce a drop of oil, is totally dependant on imports, and gets its major share from Indonesia where production is slipping, says it has plenty of oil.

Go figure.

-- Wayward (, October 03, 2000.

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