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At Least 4 Die in Pre-Vote Clashes in Indonesia

May 25, 1997|From Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Security forces and supporters of rival parties clashed on the final day of campaigning for parliamentary elections, leaving four people dead and scores injured, police said Saturday.

Jakarta, the capital, and other cities were quieter Saturday, the start of an official five-day cooling-off period before voters elect a new parliament Thursday.

Campaigning for seats in the largely ceremonial body has been marked by repeated confrontations between supporters of rival parties and security forces.

Before Friday's clashes, the military said more than 80 people had died since campaigning officially began April 27. Most were killed in auto accidents during chaotic street parades and motorcades.

On the campaign's final day, four people died and several were injured in Pasuruan, 280 miles east of Jakarta, the town's police chief said.

There were conflicting claims about election-related violence Friday in Banjarmasin on the island of Borneo, about 560 miles northeast of Jakarta.

Witnesses said at least 10 people were killed and about 80 hospitalized, while the town's police chief said at least four people were killed in a fire set during the rioting.

One newspaper reported that 79 people had died in riots.

Police imposed an 8 p.m.-dawn curfew in the town, and more than 600 troops and police patrolled the streets Saturday morning after a night of fighting and arson.

The Jakarta newspaper Suara Pembaruan said hospitals in Banjarmasin treated more than 100 people for injuries Friday. The Red Cross office in the town said 130 homes and scores of shops had been burned.

Police denied a newspaper report that two people were killed Friday when thousands rampaged through the streets of Jakarta.

Security forces fired tear gas at rioters who threw stones and set fire to buildings and cars.

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