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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Clash in Jakarta over demonstrations bill

Police opened fire on one part of the crowd of demonstrators

Demonstrators and police have clashed in two Indonesian cities over plans to give the military wide-ranging powers during emergencies.

More than 2,000 protesters converged on the parliament in Jakarta and about 500 people demonstrated outside a provincial government building in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city.

Riot police fired on one section of the Jakarta protest as soldiers surrounded another group, forcing them to disperse.

[ image: Violent protests erupted last week]
Violent protests erupted last week
In Surabaya, 700km (430 miles) east of Jakarta, about 500 students clashed with security officers outside a provincial government building.

Police and civil guard kept most of the demonstrators out of the building.

But witnesses said 19 students, who did force their way into the building, were beaten with sticks and injured.

Outside threats

Violent protests have erupted in the past week against the draft bill, which would let the military control the media and ban demonstrations during a political crisis.

Parliament was due to vote this week on the legislation, drawn up by the military and sponsored by army-appointed deputies in the chamber.

Sections of the Bill have been diluted since it was first brought before parliament but many Indonesians remain opposed to it becoming law.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Sudrajat defended the bill, saying it would give the military a "clear and straight legal framework" in the event of riots or "outside threats".

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