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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:07 UK

'At least one dead' in clashes at Jakarta cleric tomb

Burning police vehicle in Jakarta, Indonesia (14 April 2010)
Police vehicles were set on fire in the streets of the capital

At least one person has died in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in a violent dispute over the tomb of a revered Islamic cleric, say reports.

More than 50 people were injured as security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon to disperse protesters waving machetes.

The protesters believed government officials were trying to demolish the cemetery housing the tomb.

But officials in the city said they had no plans to touch the grave.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says the violence is some of the worst the capital has seen in years.

More than 2,000 members of the security forces were reported to have clashes with several hundred protesters.

We're not removing the tomb but only the old buildings and gate
Cucu Kurnia
Jakarta city spokesman

Police vehicles were also set on fire in the streets around the cemetery, close to the capital's Tanjung Priok port.

The Jakarta Globe said one police officer had been killed. National police spokesman Zainuri Lubis told reporters two people had died and the number of injured could rise.

But Col Boy Rafli Amar denied that there had been any deaths.

"At least seven police were injured quite badly, and we still have not received complete information on how many protesters were wounded," the Associated Press quoted him as saying.

Misunderstanding

City spokesman Cucu Kurnia said most of the injured were members of the security forces, some of whom had severe wounds from machetes or rocks which had been thrown.

He said the protesters had "misunderstood" the officials' action on the site.

"We're not removing the tomb but only the old buildings and gate," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

"We've stopped the demolition and will resume negotiations with demonstrators another time."

The cemetery is thought to be the resting place of a respected Islamic scholar, whom many Indonesians believe helped to spread Islam in the capital in the 18th century.

Officials say the land they want to claim back is next to the cemetery and not in the grounds itself.



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