President Suharto of Indonesia said on Tuesday (22nd January), that the Government's crackdown after the Djakarta riots during the recent visit of the Japanese Prime Minister, did not mean "the beginning of the death of democracy".
President Suharto of Indonesia said on Tuesday (22nd January), that the Government's crackdown after the Djakarta riots during the recent visit of the Japanese Prime Minister, did not mean "the beginning of the death of democracy". He said the Government's actions, which included largescale arrests, a total ban on political activities in universities and schools, and the closure of some newspapers, had been taken to protect Indonesia's democratic life.
Last week's riots, which erupted while the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Kakuei Tanaka, was in the country, left eleven people dead, and 137 others wounded. More than a thousand cars and motorcycles - mostly of Japanese manufacture - were burned or badly damaged, and 144 buildings were destroyed.
The night-time ourfew that the Government imposed on Djakarta last Tuesday, 15 January, was lifted on Monday (21 January). Since then the capital has more-or-lese returned to normal, but armed sentries are still on guard at factories and Government offices.
Most of the shops that shout during the riots have now reopened, apart from those owned by Chinese businessmen. Chimese merchants were also attacked during the disturbances. The rioting had begun as a protest against Japanese commercial activity in Indonesia. But as the violence spread, the demonstrators began to turn on the Chinese community in the capital, who are envied for their economic influence.
The Army Command in Djakarta made it clear that despite the lifting of the curfew, tough measures would remain in force. The two main student organisations are still banned, and demonstrations are forbidden.
More than 300 people wee detained during the trouble, including prominent university teachers, economists and student leaders. The army claimed that 40 people responsible for urging the rioters to burn down the big Japanese motor showroom of Toyota, were among those arrested.