Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Monday, February 9, 1998 Published at 18:30 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Indonesian authorities blame "criminals" for unrest
image: [ Protestors marching through Jakarta ]
Protestors marching through Jakarta

The authorities in Indonesia have blamed criminals for provoking disturbances in the east of the country directed largely against the country's ethnic Chinese community.

The governor of the province of Nusa, Tenggara Timur Herman Musakabe, acknowledged that protests against businesses owned by ethnic Chinese on the island of Flores were prompted by anger over price rises.

But he said that robbers and looters had encouraged the demonstrations.

Reports say several shops were burned down during the violence and that hundreds of ethnic Chinese took refuge in military and police stations.

In another development, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the capital, Jakarta, demanding that the government stabilise the shattered currency and ensure the country had enough food.

The protest was flanked by hundreds of police and soldiers wearing riot gear and carrying automatic rifles, including elite special forces units. It broke up after more than six hours without incident.

[ image: Kofi Annan: rang to express concern]
Kofi Annan: rang to express concern
Indonesia's state news agency, Antara, reported on Monday that the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, had called President Suharto to express his concern over the economic crisis.

The prolonged financial turmoil in Indonesia has sent the value of the currency, the rupiah, plummeting, and led to price rises and shortages of some essential goods.

The currency is estimated to have lost 70% of its value since July 1997 - the biggest drop amongst all the south-east Asian currencies.

President Suharto has agreed to a series of drastic economic reforms to stabilise the situation.

Monopolies and businesses connected to President Suharto's children will be dismantled or cut back; government budget figures are to be revised to more realistic levels; and food and fuel subsidies will be cut.

However, Indonesians, terrified by the prospect of factory closures and rising unemployment, have indulged in panic buying, jostling each other for supplies of sugar and cooking oil.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  Relevant Stories

04 Feb 98 | World
World Bank expresses fears for Indonesian food supplies

02 Feb 98 | World
Further violent food protests reported in Indonesia

30 Jan 98 | World
Indonesia: Why ethnic Chinese are afraid

24 Jan 98 | World
More food riots in Indonesia

23 Jan 98 | World
Indonesia revises budget in line with IMF agreement

15 Jan 98 | Business
Indonesia signs IMF deal