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Thursday, June 3, 1999 Published at 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Megawati supporters fill the streets

PDI followers turned Jakarta red and black on their final day of campaigning

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri have paraded through the streets of Jakarta as campaigning reaches a climax ahead of Monday's elections.

Indonesia Flashpoints
Normal life came to a standstill in the Indonesian capital as jubilant supporters of Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle poured onto the streets late on Wednesday evening, swathed in the party's red and black colours and its angry bull symbol.

Party followers shouted choruses of "Mega, Mega", accompanied by beating drums and blaring car horns, while a trailer towed a huge wood and canvas bull through the crowds.


Simon Ingram reports: "A crimson tide of humanity brought central Jakarta to a standstill"
The PDI-Struggle leader is also making several campaign appearances on Thursday in the western part of Java, and is scheduled to address a final rally in the former Kemayoran airport in Jakarta.

Tens of thousands of people have massed at previous rallies for Megawati, the daughter of Indonesia's founding President Sukarno.


The BBC's Jonathan Head: Megawati supporters put on a spectacular show of strength
The BBC's Jakarta Correspondent, Jonathan Head, says Megawati's party is widely expected to receive the most votes when Indonesians go to the polls, but it is unlikely to win an overall majority.

The ruling Golkar party, which has dominated Indonesian politics for the past three decades, now hardly dares campaign among people enraged by its past abuses. However, our correspondent says with plenty of funds available, Golkar cannot be discounted.


[ image: Megawati is likely to head the polls but may not win an overall majority]
Megawati is likely to head the polls but may not win an overall majority
Golkar's final day of campaigning is on Friday, completing a rotating schedule designed to avoid confrontation between the major parties. A two-day cooling-off period follows over the weekend before Indonesians cast their votes.

Some 130 million people are expected to vote and around 450 foreign observers are in Indonesia to help monitor the elections, billed as the most democratic in 44 years.

Campaigning has been largely peaceful, but clashes were reported on Wednesday between supporters of Golkar, PDI-Struggle and the United Development party in the West Java town of Cirebon. Buildings, cars and motorcycles were damaged.

Clashes also broke out on Wednesday in the Balinese capital of Denpasar between Golkar and Megawati followers. Several people were injured, while one car was burned and some houses were damaged, including the local Golkar leader's home.



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