ISS 325 War & Revolution pages:
link to War & Revolution photo page

REVOLUTION AND INTERNAL CONFLICT

   #Yugoslavia   #Cambodia       #Albania       #Nigeria
#INDONESIA post-Suharto     #INDONESIA May 1998       #ETHNIC CHINESE
 #east timor       #IRIAN JAYA       #CHINA


Lenin


Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, police commander,
           shooting a Viet Cong prisoner in 1968 in Saigon.
 
 


              Gorbachev



                                           YUGOSLAVIA 2000

HOW SERBIA ROSE AGAINST MILOSEVIC
Friday, 6 October, 2000
  Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's fall from power, when it came, happened with stunning speed in one tumultuous day of mass protest. BBC News Online traces the key moments of that day and the weeks leading up to it:



A historic moment - Opposition supporters fly the flag from the federal parliament building in Belgrade

The day had begun with supporters arriving in the capital from all parts of the country

Huge crowds converged on the parliament building, where police at first fired teargas to disperse them

Protesters threw a teargas canister back at police

But the determined crowds anger turned on the secutiry forces

A demonstrator flew the Serbian flag as police cars burned

Then came the final push for the federal parliament building

Protesters climbed the building as the riot police retreated

Protesters celebrated in front of the television station building

Hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavs spent the night celebrating on the streets of Belgrade

One correspondent said there had never before been such a party in the city ... and he "had seen a few"
========
  HOW YUGOSLAVIA WON ITS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
  By STEVEN ERLANGER and ROGER COHEN
  BELGRADE, Oct. 13 — Early in the day of the uprising that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, Ljubisav Djokic received a call requesting special assistance from organizers of the opposition. Mr. Djokic, a construction worker, drives a large bulldozer, and he was asked to bring it along to a mass demonstration in central Belgrade.
  Arriving in front of the federal Parliament shortly before 3 p.m. that Thursday, Oct. 5, he was confronted by riot police officers. "I thought it was going to be peaceful," he said. "But when the tear gas started and people fled, I came eye-to-eye with the police. Then I asked myself, 'Why did you come? What are you waiting for? Did you come to a parade or do you want to finish something?' "
  Mr. Djokic switched on his machine and lumbered forward, crushing two concrete flower boxes before raising his big shovel to smash windows of the Parliament. As some demonstrators threw bottles of flaming gasoline inside the Renaissance-style building, he used the shovel to hoist other demonstrators into the breach.
  After 13 increasingly desperate years under Mr. Milosevic, Serbia had risen. It looked chaotic. But as Mr. Djokic's summons suggests, more planning lay behind the march on Belgrade than the final tumult suggests. Still what no one could know was how ready the police officers and military would be to repel the uprising.
  A close look at the rebellion reveals planning that included a careful selection of targets, penetration of the police's secret communications system, recruiting some muscular — but disaffected — off-duty police officers and paratroopers and the dispatch of an emissary to Budapest to inform the United States government.
  "We had to have a combination of organization and spontaneity," said Vuk Obradovic, a former army general and now the leader of the small Social Democracy Party. "Mass civil disobedience requires spontaneity to succeed. But we planned this carefully. It was organized disorder, and that is one reason that in the end the police could not cope."
  Two days before the uprising, Mr. Obradovic, who quit the army over Mr. Milosevic's policies, had addressed a letter to Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, Yugoslavia's top military commander, urging him to show restraint. "Take the right side!" he pleaded. "Take the people's side!"
  A Sharp Reply 
  General Pavkovic chose to show him the courtesy of a reply, just one day before Mr. Milosevic fell. It was both sharp and telling. It accused Mr. Obradovic of "prejudgment of the electoral results and disobedience of the electoral procedure."
  The letter made clear that on the eve of the revolt, the army command remained loyal to Mr. Milosevic, rejecting the opposition's view that Vojislav Kostunica had won the Sept. 24 presidential election outright.
  As crowds poured into Belgrade the next day, Mr. Obradovic fired off a last letter to his old friend General Pavkovic, lamenting that his effort to "open your eyes" had failed. It concluded: "Our communication is ended. God help you!"
  But blood was not shed in the end. This was no Leninist revolution. It paused, at a sort of Serbian halfway house, dislodging Mr. Milosevic, installing Mr. Kostunica as president of Yugoslavia, but leaving in place — for now — many of the regime's authorities, including General Pavkovic.
  Mr. Milosevic's end came in an overwhelming display of popular anger, prepared by the hard work that spread resistance through the provinces to create a Serbian grass roots movement schooled in passive resistance and propelled to its climax by a sense that, in the words of one important organizer, Cedomir Jovanovic, "by Thursday, it was us or them."
  Many feared that the malevolent magician of Serbia would conjure a route to survival yet again. He had denied Mr. Kostunica a first round victory and dictated a second round of voting that the opposition had vowed to boycott.
  "I was very worried early last week that the opposition seemed to be following a course that would prevent them running a second time, but was not active enough to make a difference," said William D. Montgomery, the United States ambassador who ran an embassy in exile in Budapest.
  But the concern proved misplaced. For once, it was not the opposition that had misplayed its hand; it was Mr. Milosevic.
  He had manipulated the Constitution last July to call the election in September, giving Serbs a chance to vote against him. But he misread the polls and failed to steal enough votes. When he manipulated the count to deny Mr. Kostunica his victory, for most Serbs it was too much. During the protests, one of the most popular slogans was: "Take us out of this madhouse, Kostunica."
  Courts offering no justice, jobs offering no money, police offering no protection, state television offering no truths and a form of rule offering no apparent purpose beyond the perpetuation of the regime had ended by convincing a majority of Serbs that somebody was crazy, and it wasn't them.
  But this diffuse anger needed channeling. A student movement, Otpor (Resistance), founded in 1998, provided some of it. The arrest in the last two years of more than 1,500 of its members had produced broad disgruntlement and encouraged parents to follow their children in shedding their fear.
  "We were the young of Serbia, the shield that accepted the kick and bite of the regime, allowing Mr. Kostunica to campaign calmly," said Srdja Popovic, an Otpor leader. "And we told our members to never cease quoting Borges when they emerged from jail," referring to the late Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine writer: " `VIOLENCE IS THE LAST REFUGE OF THE WEAK.' "
  Otpor's message was simple — "Gotov je" — "He's finished." Flush with funds from Western aid groups and governments, within three days of Mr. Milosevic's July 27 announcement of the presidential election Otpor had six tons of printed campaign material ready. The goal was clear: produce a conviction that the impossible could happen, that Mr. Milosevic could be ousted by systematically transferring fear from a long-cowed population into the very organizations that supported the regime.
  Inside the army and the police, a decade of conflict had taken its toll, people close to those institutions said. Defeats in Croatia and Bosnia were followed by the humiliation of Kosovo last year. While Mr. Milosevic used the opportunity to denounce a new enemy in NATO, many young Serbs saw mass evictions and killings up close for the first time. They were especially incensed when Mr. Milosevic proclaimed his capitulation in Kosovo as a victory.
  It was this sort of sentiment that helped turn old Milosevic strongholds in central and southern Serbia into centers of opposition. The disgruntlement also allowed men like Velimir Ilic, the mayor of the central Serbian town of Cacak and a particularly blunt opposition leader, to recruit successfully within the police and army and gain first-rate intelligence on police activities.
  "For years, we used to gather and criticize Milosevic and go home and he was still there," said Mr. Ilic, the leader of the New Serbia party. "And this time we spat out that method because we feared it would drag out for 100 days of banging dishes with someone complaining we were keeping a baby awake. So we decided we are men, let's do it."
  Mr. Ilic, who led 10,000 people, some of them armed, 90 miles north to Belgrade on the decisive Thursday, added that he had senior police agents from Belgrade and Cacak working for him, as well as off-duty paratroopers. "We knew every order coming from the Interior Ministry," he said. "We knew what they were planning. We saw their faxes."
  The mayor is not disinclined to promote his role, and his bravura may on occasion make light with details. But his account is supported by other leaders who make clear that the intelligence available on police moves — and hesitations — was significant by the time a huge crowd converged on central Belgrade.
  A Secret Vote
  In Valjevo, 60 miles southwest of Belgrade, orders were received from the capital four days before the uprising to arrest four political leaders. But the police commander there, long sympathetic to the opposition, held a secret vote with his men. The vote went against the arrests.
  "Milosevic did not foresee those faces in Belgrade," said Slobodan Homen, an Otpor founder. "They were not middle class faces. Those were faces with real anger in their eyes, the faces of workers and peasants who had come to the capital to finish the job."
  But not everyone who could be there came. Mr. Obradovic, the former general turned opposition leader, who said his role had been to keep the army and police off balance, gave instructions that only one bus should come to Belgrade with workers from the striking Kolubara coal mine, 30 miles from the capital. The strike, which began five days after the election in September, was critical. It widened the opposition movement to the workers and frightened the regime, which needed coal from the mine to keep supplying electricity.
  A personal, predawn appeal from General Pavkovic, combining entreaty and threat, failed to break the rebellion at the mine, and when police moved in on Wednesday morning, Oct. 4, they backed off when faced with a growing, angry crowd of supporters of Mr. Kostunica and the strike.
  Then, on the eve of the huge demonstration in central Belgrade, Mr. Kostunica made his second visit to the Kolubara strike, and it had a triumphal feel. His prize was coming closer, and the next day, half a million people would come to Belgrade in his name. Some of them were ready and prepared to fight and die for the prize, even as those who organized "revolutionary violence" insist they kept the details from Mr. Kostunica.
  The key was to keep the police from consolidating their forces. "We wanted to keep the police preoccupied in different places," Mr. Obradovic said. "That's why I said, `One bus only from Kolubara.' Our last recourse would have been to bring all Serbia to Belgrade if Mr. Milosevic cracked down."
  Such a crackdown could not be ruled out. Several opposition figures received death threats early in the week, they said. A woman working in a senior position in the armed forces said that everyone in the army had been reminded before the election that Mr. Kostunica had vowed to "professionalize" and slash the size of the army. "The message was, `Think about your job before you vote,' " she said.
  After the first round of voting, she continued, the new message was that everything was under control, and Mr. Milosevic would prevail.
  As opposition leaders met at their headquarters on Oct. 4, the day before the march on Belgrade, the murkiness of the last 10 years in Serbia endured. But they repeated their resolve that the next day would be "D- Day," as they called it. Mr. Milosevic was given a deadline of 3 p.m. that Thursday to accept the results of the election and resign.
  "We knew Thursday was the crucial day, because on Sunday, in the so-called second round, Milosevic would re-elect himself and it would all be over," said Zarko Korac, a leading opposition figure.
  Targets were set that were symbols of the regime: the federal Parliament, the Serbian television building that had drummed out Mr. Milosevic's propaganda for a decade, his Serbian Social Party headquarters, a main municipal police station and the retaking of the B-92 independent radio station that had been seized by the government.
  But there was nothing as precise as a battle plan.
  "What we needed was a symbolic act that would liberate the people," Mr. Jovanovic said. "We knew we could not settle for less than that."
  As the coordinated convoys of protesters started to roll toward Belgrade Thursday — from north, south, east and west, in buses and trucks, tractors and cars — one opposition leader absented himself, heading for Budapest.
  That was Mr. Homen, an Otpor founder, who went to the American embassy in Hungary where he met with Mr. Montgomery, the American diplomat in charge of dealing with Yugoslavia. "I explained to the ambassador that this was the decisive day, that we needed to finish the story, and were ready to occupy the federal Parliament and the Serbian TV building," he said.
  No Offer of Help
  During the meeting, Mr. Homen also inquired as to what the American reaction would be if forces loyal to Mr. Milosevic fired on the demonstrators. "I was told there was no possibility of military help," he said.
  Mr. Montgomery confirmed that the meeting had taken place. "If ever anybody asked, I always discouraged any notion that there could be any kind of military intervention," he said. "But I made clear that pressure had to be maintained, could not stop — and they seemed to realize that themselves."
  Certainly, the momentum was ferocious. As one long convoy of protesters rolled toward Belgrade from Kraljevo in central Serbia, it was confronted by a police roadblock that refused to move.
  Mr. Jovanovic, who was in radio contact with the leader of the protesters, heard him turn to the crowd and say that every veteran of the Serbian wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo should come to the front. About 1,000 men stepped forward.
  Then one of them approached the police chief at the roadblock and, without a word, slapped him twice across the face as he instructed him to move. In a telling illustration of how psychological power had shifted from the regime to the opposition, the police moved out of the way.
  Mr. Obradovic and Momcilo Perisic, the army chief of staff fired by Mr. Milosevic in 1998, had contacts inside the high command with whom they had been in contact for weeks, and they knew that Mr. Milosevic was ordering the army to stop the columns of protesters moving into Belgrade.
  By early afternoon on Thursday, as the crowds built in Belgrade, General Pavkovic, the top military commander, concluded that an order to fire would not be obeyed by his troops. "Pavkovic told Milosevic that if he ordered out the tanks, the next picture he would see would be of protesters on top of the tanks giving a flower to a crying soldier," one official said.
  General Pavkovic, who had tied his career to political support for Mr. Milosevic, turned, realizing that it was better to risk being fired than hanged. The army remained in its barracks as the 3 p.m. deadline passed, and a huge crowd surged toward the federal Parliament.
  In a cloud of overwhelming tear gas, demonstrators heard the following over the police communications they had penetrated: "Send us reinforcements! Send reinforcements!" The reply came back: "We are trying, wait while we try."
  But soon afterward, the message from the outer ring of police around the crowd to those at the Parliament was more somber: "We don't know what to do, some of our men are putting down their weapons."
  Going for Broke
  Despite the tear gas, Mr. Djokic, with his bulldozer, was undeterred. "I was sure I'd go to prison for the rest of my life, so I thought, let me go clean RTS, too," he said, referring to the headquarters of Radio Television Serbia, the hated state media known as Television Bastille.
  There were lines of police in the front of the building firing tear gas, and Mr. Djokic went forward three times, then stopped. Suddenly, he said, someone with a beard gave him a gas mask, "and I went on attack." Shots were fired at him, making two holes in the back window.
  He crashed through the concrete of the main door of the building, and protesters rushed in.
  At the Parliament, Mr. Jovanovic, a leader among the demonstrators, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was among the first of about 200 people to enter. Police fired rubber bullets — he has one as a souvenir — but no live rounds. The police were firing stun grenades, more tear gas and some chemical with a choking effect.
  In the lower house assembly room, a police unit decided not to fight. They called their superior officer and asked permission to leave the building. "They were told to use all possible means to fight back," Mr. Jovanovic said. "But then the unit commander took off his side arm, and the others followed." They put down their weapons and riot gear and left the building.
  Demonstrators swarmed in past the growing flames, and some started looting, ripping off chairs, hat racks, leather briefcases and other souvenirs, while some protesters started tossing election ballots — already marked in favor of Mr. Milosevic — out of the second-story window of the building, which was begun in 1907 and finished in 1936.
  Zoran Djindjic, one of the top opposition leaders, was running a command headquarters from the party offices of the Democratic Alternative of Nebojsa Covic, a former mayor of Belgrade who broke with Mr. Milosevic. The office has a steel door and a television camera watching the outside. The staircase was full of beefy, short-haired Djindjic bodyguards, many of them wearing body armor, who went off on missions, some of them led by Mr. Jovanovic.
  Everyone understood that the Parliament was a symbol but storming it would not make Mr. Milosevic leave, opposition leaders said. That was why the taking of the state-run news media, especially Radio Television Serbia and Politika, the state-run daily newspaper, and the main police stations was crucial.
  "It was like a run on the Winter Palace," Mr. Jovanovic said. Teams moved from the building of B-92, the independent radio seized by the state, which Otpor helped liberate, to RTS, which was also set on fire, then to other state media and, perhaps most important, to the RTS studio and transmitter on a hill three miles south of the federal Parliament.
  The chief editor of Politika escaped up a fire stairs and over the roof, but the head of RTS and the chief news editor were severely beaten.
  A Swift Collapse
  With the army inactive, the Belgrade police collapsed. About 5:30 p.m., the commanders decided they could not fight the inevitable, and by 7 p.m., the order came over the police radio: "Give up. He's finished."
  Commanders made contact with Mr. Djindjic and Mr. Kostunica, promising they would only attack if attacked and would otherwise withdraw.
  Mr. Obradovic was dispatched to seal the bargain, finding a frightened police commander, Gen. Branko Djuric, in his office in the main police headquarters building on 29 November Street.
  At city hall, across a park from the burning federal Parliament, Mr. Kostunica swept through the huge crowd to give a speech of triumph and reconciliation from the balcony, a reluctant revolutionary who had been propelled into power. "Good evening, dear liberated Serbia!" he shouted.
  In the hallway, Belgrade's new mayor, Milan Protic, a historian, could barely control his emotions. "We're living the revolution," he said, as hundreds of thousands cheered outside.
  "I've been a historian all my life," he said. "I've studied the past to understand the essence of a nation's feelings and development. And this is really something else — this is really living history."
  One day later, about 11:30 at night, on Friday, Mr. Milosevic went on television to concede defeat in the election to Mr. Kostunica. The two men had met a few hours earlier, brought together by General Pavkovic, in a summer house in Tito's former residence on Uzicka Street in Belgrade.
  They spoke alone for about 20 minutes. One of their topics, Mr. Kostunica said later, was the transitory nature of power."I talked about how power, once lost, is not power lost forever," Mr. Kostunica said. But Mr. Milosevic's long and bloody grip on the fractured state of Yugoslavia had been broken.

 ***
 
 



 #top
CAMBODIA

 Thousands of Cambodian opposition protesters fill the streets of Phnom Penh Sunday. Thousands of protesters calling for the ouster of strongman Hun Sen braved a heavy clampdown Sunday and marched through the capital to cheers from Phnom Penh's citizens, who threw them food and honked car horns in support.

Pro-Hun Sen supporters jump from their truck to attack opposition protesters during a parade through the streets of Phnom Penh Sunday.
 



 #top
ALBANIA
September 14, 1998
  ALBANIA VIOLENCE SPIRALS
  Protesters set fire to cars outside the Interior Ministry
  Fresh violence has broken out at the Albanian Prime Minister's office in Tirana despite an appeal for calm by President Rexhep Meidani.
  At least one tank has been seen on the streets of the capital.
  Reports say there was an exchange of shots as a crowd bearing the body of murdered opposition politician Azem Hajdari tried to bring his coffin inside the building.
  The opposition had earlier threatened to use "all means" to force out Prime Minister Fatos Nano, whom it blamed for the killing.
  Shots were fired from inside the building and were returned from outside.
  Grenades also appeared to have been thrown and explosions were heard. At least two people were injured.
  The procession had earlier left the central Skanderbeg Square, accompanied by the bodies of a bodyguard shot dead along with Mr Hajdari on Saturday night and a third man killed in rioting on Sunday.
  Rally turns to violence
  Sunday's violence began when around 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside the offices following allegations that government officials were involved in the killing of Mr Hajdari.
  They set fire to cars outside the Interior Ministry, then moved to the nearby building that houses the prime minister's office and also the cabinet meeting rooms.
  One protester died and four government guards were wounded in the violence.
  President Meidani appealed for calm in a statement on Albanian TV:"This great loss demands justice," he said, adding Mr Hajdari's death "should not lead to a repetition of last year's chaos, for which we all paid dearly."
  Azem Hajdari was gunned down by automatic rifle fire as he came out of the offices of the Democratic Party on Saturday night. One of his bodyguards also died in the attack.
  No-one has claimed responsibility for the killings.
  The government denounced the killing and posted a reward of between $50,000 and $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
  Allegations against Socialists
  The opposition says the killing was ordered by the the governing Socialist party - the reformed heirs of the communist dictators who ruled Albania for nearly half a century.
  "The Democratic Party of Albania has all proof that this is a direct criminal act of the government," former Albanian president Sali Berisha said.
  "[Mr Nano] has committed an historical mistake by organising such a murder on the doorstep of our party," he said, adding that if Mr Nano did not resign by midday on Monday, the opposition would use "all means" to force him out.
  The Democrats said they had identified the killer as a policeman, but the Interior Ministry could not confirm this.

 September 15, 1998

  ALBANIAN PM HIDES AFTER 'COUP ATTEMPT'
  Four people were killed in two days of violence
  The Albanian government says it has put down an attempted coup and regained control of the capital, Tirana, following two days of rioting in which four people were killed.
  The government says Prime Minister Fatos Nano, whose resignation is being demanded by opposition groups, is now in a secret location.
  Early on Tuesday there was reported to be an uneasy calm in Tirana, but the opposition announced it intended to hold another in the city's central Skanderbeg Square.
  The Interior Ministry said it had informed opposition leader Sali Berisha that government forces were under orders to shoot without warning and that his Democratic Party would be held responsible for any casualties.
  A group of heavily armed supporters of Dr Berisha gathered at the Democratic Party headquarters during the night, with a tank seized from the army during yesterday's violence, and a BBC correspondent says Dr Berisha shows no sign of backing down.
  'Bandits and criminals'
  In a BBC interview, the Albanian Foreign Minister, Paskal Milo, described the leaders of the protests as "bandits and criminals", but he said the situation in Tirana had been "stabilised".
  During two days of clashes between armed opposition supporters and police four people were killed, and protesters took temporary control of parliament, the state broadcasting network and the prime minister's office.
  The clashes were sparked by the killing last weekend of a prominent ally of Mr Berisha, Azem Hajdari.
  The government says Mr Hajdari's death is being used as an excuse by Mr Berisha to try to seize power.
  The foreign minister said Mr Berisha was responsible for the violence, but he said the government would work with him to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis, as urged by the United States and other countries.
  He said the government would not try to arrest Mr Berisha but neither was it prepared to share power with the opposition.
  Although Prime Minister Nano's Socialist party have made it clear there will be no government resignations, members handed the mandate of power to Secretary General Pandeli Majko.
  Mr Berisha has repeated his demand for the prime minister to resign.
  Regional threat
  There has been concern, particularly among Albania's European neighbours, that the violence will plunge the country into a crisis similar to that of 1997 following the collapse of fraudulent pyramid investment schemes.
  There are also concerns about the regional implications of further serious unrest in Albania. After the chaos of 1997 correspondents say Albania remains a fragmented and volatile country, with much of the population having ready access to arms.
  Mr Berisha's party has centred its opposition to the government on what it says is the prime minister's inadequate response to the conflict between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in neighbouring Kosovo.
  The Democratic party and its right-wing coalition partners actively support the Kosovo Liberation Army, which is fighting for independence from Serbia, and has training bases and weapon supply points in the north of Albania.
  Eyewitnesses at Monday's disturbances reported seeing Kosovans and members of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army among the protesters.


 #top
NIGERIA: ANOTHER GENERAL RULES
  A new leader of Nigeria has been sworn into office in a rapid transition after the unexpected death of General Sani Abacha.
  The new head of state in Africa's most populous nation is the defence chief, Major-General Abdusalam Abubakar. 

 It is a country of 250 tribal groups. The Hausa and Fulani in the north, the Yoruba in the southwest and the Ibo in the southeast make up 65 percent of the population. The 1960s were marked by a struggle for political dominance among the main ethnic groups, and a devastating civil war almost broke the country apart in the late 1960s.
  During the 1970s oil exports helped Nigeria recover economically, and in the early 1980s, with a civilian government in Lagos, Nigeria became known as a model of African democracy and prosperity. Nigerian arts were the envy of the continent. Its press was one of the freest anywhere. Nigerian diplomacy challenged the United States and Britain over issues like apartheid. The nation's currency was worth twice as much as the dollar.
  But democracy in Nigeria died in 1983, and Abacha, a career soldier who became an infantryman at 18 and attended military colleges in England, the United States and Nigeria, had a role in three coups.
  The generals ousted Nigeria's last civilian government in 1983. Hopes for a return to democracy were high in June 1993, when Abiola, a millionaire businessman, won an election with pledges to return Nigeria to civilian rule. But the government annulled the vote, and three months later Abacha overthrew President Ibrahim Babangida.
  Gen. Sani Abacha, who died Monday, was the seventh Nigerian officer to come to power by force since the country gained independence from Britain in 1960. But even against this background, Abacha established a distinctive record of brutal rule.
  Nigerian human rights groups, clandestinely active in the country and openly critical in exile, have charged that more people were arrested in his five and a half years in power than in the five decades of British rule. Abacha regularly expressed his authority through fiat or intimidation, but he rarely revealed much about himself, giving no interviews and keeping to the confines of his official mansion, known as Aso Rock. He would arrive at his office late in the day and work through the night, keeping aloof even from his own ministers and military advisers.
 As Abacha was being chastised by world leaders and his government made subject to economic pressures, he sought to establish Nigeria's military might as the peace-keeping power of West Africa. In February, Nigerian troops took Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, chased out a junta and, in a seeming paradox, paved the way for the return of a democratically elected president.
  In Sierra Leone, Nigerian soldiers intervened recently to restore the elected president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who had been overthrown, and rout a guerrilla force that has been terrorizing much of the countryside. There, people from street vendors to government officials expressed fear that disorder in Nigeria would cause that country to lessen its commitment in Sierra Leone, perhaps allowing the rebels to make a comeback.
  "Abacha may have been hated in Nigeria, but he saved us here," said one Sierra Leonean journalist. "If things go badly in Nigeria, we will surely suffer again."
  In other West African countries mounting concerns about stability in Nigeria have less to do with Nigerian military involvements than with fears of a huge refugee outflow.

Chief Abiola campaigns for the presidency in 1993
July 8, 1998
  JAILED NIGERIAN DIES DURING ENVOYS' VISIT
  -- Nigeria's most prominent political prisoner, Moshood Abiola, died Tuesday, apparently of a heart attack, further complicating an already turbulent political situation in Africa's most populous country.
    Abiola, who was 60 years old, became ill while meeting with U.S. and Nigerian officials at a government guest house in Abuja, the capital. He died shortly afterward in a hospital, U.S. and Nigerian officials said Tuesday.

ABUBAKAR MOVES TO STEM BACKLASH
  Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Nigeria, angry at the death of Chief Abiola
  Nigeria's military leader, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, has sacked his entire cabinet in a bid to calm the violent unrest sparked by the sudden death of jailed opposition leader Chief Moshood Abiola.
  At least 10 people have been killed in clashes with police as angry protests continue in southern Nigeria, the political stronghold of Chief Abiola, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday.
  Gen Abubakar has sacked all 33 members of his cabinet, but has not touched the provisional ruling council, the highest decision-making body in the country.
 

  The death of Chief Abiola unleashed a wave of ethnic violence.
  Lagos and the rest of ethnic Yoruba formed the political stronghold of Abiola, himself a Yoruba.
  The Hausa-speaking north has been the traditional home to the military leaders, including Gen Abubakar, who have ruled Nigeria since independence in 1960.
  The people reported to have died so far were mainly protesters from the Yoruba tribe. Rioting broke out in Lagos, Ibadan and Abeokuta, Chief Abiola's home town.
  Many Yorubas are reported to have taken their anger out on Hausas, who they accuse of robbing them of jobs and power, and now of causing Chief Abiola's death.
  The three main ethnic groups in Africa's most populous country are the Yorubas in the South West, the Hausa Fulani in the North, and the South-Eastern Ibos. The Ibos fought a secessionist war for an independent Biafra in 1967, which then collapsed in 1970.
rioters accuse the Hausa military of Abioloa's death

  July 9, 1998
  NIGERIA'S RULER PLEADS FOR CALM AFTER 19 DIE IN RIOTS
  LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria's military ruler tried to calm an angry nation on Wednesday night, after the sudden death of the opposition leader, Moshood K.O. Abiola, by agreeing to allow outside experts to take part in the autopsy and speaking, albeit in vague terms, of moving toward democracy.
  But the country seems poised on a knife-edge despite the appeals for restraint.
  The streets of Lagos were quiet on Wednesday night, eerily deserted as people stayed home out of fear. But debris and smashed glass littering several streets testified to the sporadic rioting that has left at least 19 people dead since Abiola, who was under government detention, died. The riots underscored the explosive resonance of his name.
 
 



 #top
INDONESIA 1998 round two--November
Thousands of Indonesian students take to the streets of Jakarta on their way to parliament Thursday. Troops later fired rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas to prevent demonstrators from reaching parliament in the largest show of opposition yet.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 


 
 

Indonesian riot police clash with student protesters in front of Parliament in Jakarta Thursday. Security forces used water cannons to disperse hundreds of students protesting near the legislature.

Indonesian students jeer at riot police during a protest in front of the Parliament in Jakarta Thursday. The demonstration turned violent after vastly outnumbered police and soldiers failed to block an estimated 20,000 marchers.
 

  November 13, 1998

  INDONESIA'S STUDENTS: AN UNRELENTING FORCE FOR CHANGE
By SETH MYDANS
  JAKARTA, Indonesia -- In a last line of defense, riot police officers fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets Thursday night to keep student demonstrators from invading the grounds of Parliament as they did six months ago when they helped force the ouster of President Suharto.
  One police officer was killed and scores of people were reported injured in confrontations around the city as columns of students dodged or bullied their way through police lines. Banks and shops pulled down their shutters in fear of new rioting.
  THE DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE BUILT IN NUMBER AND INTENSITY THIS WEEK AS PARLIAMENT MEETS TO LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR A NEW ELECTION THAT WOULD REPLACE THE TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF SUHARTO'S CHOSEN SUCCESSOR, PRESIDENT B.J. HABIBIE.
  The parliamentary session is to conclude on Friday with a series of strenuously debated decrees that will help shape the future of Indonesia's fledgling attempt at democracy. The students say they will be on the streets in force, ready to demonstrate their opposition.
  Although the electoral process has been generally endorsed by the country's leading opposition figures, it is not enough for most of the students, who are demanding an immediate break with the past.
  Riding the momentum of their victory over Suharto in May, the students have taken over major streets in the capital this week by the tens of thousands, marching and chanting, proud to make their mark on history as the revolutionary "class of 1998."
  "We have proved to the people that we are not just ignorant boys and girls," said Benny Yuliawan, 23, a philosophy student. "I have an obsession that this week will be as great an event as May, only without the riots."
  With their jeans, sandals, long hair and guitars, this is a student movement to take its place alongside those of the French and the Americans in 1968.
  Their continuing campus demonstrations kept alive the country's timid opposition to Suharto after he was anointed for a seventh five-year term in March. And it was the killing by security forces of four students at Trisakti University in mid-May that set off three days of devastating riots that shook Suharto's hold on power.
  Finally, the students' ebullient and fearless weeklong occupation of the Parliament building was the most visible part of the end game that forced Suharto to step down.
  MANY PEOPLE HERE SEE THE STUDENTS AS AN ESSENTIAL MORAL FORCE, ASSURING THAT PARLIAMENT WILL NOT BACK AWAY FROM ITS OUTLINE OF DEMOCRATIC REFORMS. AS THE FOUR-DAY PARLIAMENTARY SESSION CONTINUED THURSDAY, DELEGATES INSIDE THE BUILDING REPEATEDLY ASKED REPORTERS, "WHAT'S HAPPENING OUTSIDE?"
  In a nation where all government institutions and almost all public figures are holdovers from the 32-year Suharto era, the students are the most insistent voice for a genuine change. And in a country that does not yet have a true democracy, their voice must be heard from beyond the spiked fence that surrounds the Parliament building.
  BUT THEY ARE NOT A UNIFIED MOVEMENT WITH CLEAR LEADERS, AND A FOREIGN DIPLOMAT SAID THAT IN RECENT WEEKS THEY HAVE INCREASINGLY FRAGMENTED.
  "Now they are kind of leaderless and some have abandoned their positions of nonviolence," the diplomat said. "The movement is fracturing all the time."
  Their various agendas seem to converge on a demand that the military withdraw from its dominant role in politics and that the government investigate Suharto's wealth. Many students are demanding the immediate resignation of Habibie, although a split in the movement has emerged over that issue.
  In effect, the students are still demonstrating against Suharto and his legacy, demanding the completion of Indonesia's revolution. Among the many cheers and slogans chanted on the streets this week, the most popular by far is "Hang Suharto."
  "We will watch the conclusion of the session, and if Suharto is not punished, we will be back again," said Raja Maures, 19, a student of management at Trisakti University.
  At the same time, the student movement is itself a legacy of Suharto, the product of the rapid economic development he achieved and the emerging middle class that was one of its results. The students, with their vision of an open democratic society, are Indonesia's first truly middle-class generation.
  The 23-year-old philosophy student, Yuliawan, despite his bold talk of revolution, is fascinated by the centrist politics of Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.
  "We realize that not all the people agree with us," he said of the students' political agenda. "But our role is educational. By staging our protests, we are saying to the people that it is possible to speak out. For many years, we were held down. Now we break the fence and move forward."
 
 
 


November 13, 1998

  JAKARTA ON VERGE OF CHAOS
  Local people join in the protest
  Fresh clashes between troops and student demonstrators in Jakarta have led to the deaths of at least three people.
  AS THE INDONESIAN CAPITAL TEETERED ON THE VERGE OF CHAOS, SOLDIERS FIRED RUBBER BULLETS AND TEARGAS DIRECTLY INTO CROWDS OF STUDENTS, whose protests have now been joined by local people.
  Hospital sources say at least three students have been killed, in addition to the two people who were killed in clashes on Thursday.
  Our correspondent in Jakarta, Jonathan Head says the mood in Jakarta is very angry, and the situation could spiral out of control.
  He watched soldiers firing round after round of rubber-coated bullets into a crowd, and says there must be many more injuries.
  Thousands of students took to the streets for the fourth day of protests, hurled rocks and uprooted street signs at security forces.
  THE TROOPS HAVE BACKED OFF FOR NOW, LEAVING THE DEMONSTRATORS IN CONTROL OF THE HEART OF THE CAPITAL.
  On Thursday night a student died in hospital suffering from severe head injuries. A policeman also died; the authorities said he had been beaten to death.
  Warning to protesters
  THE STUDENTS ARE DEMONSTRATING AS INDONESIA'S HIGHEST LEGISLATIVE BODY, THE MPR, MEETS FOR THE LAST DAY. THEY SAY THE BODY DOES NOT REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE, AND IS NOT GOING FAR ENOUGH IN ITS PLANS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE.
  At least 100 people were reported to have been wounded by rubber bullets and batons on Thursday as they attempted to march on parliament.
  The armed forces chief, General Wiranto called for calm, urging people to stay at home on Friday.
  He also warned that an estimated 30,000 police and troops deployed across the capital would take "sterner and firmer action" if student protests got out of control again.
  An opposition leader, Amien Rais, said in a BBC interview that the students' demand for an immediate end to the military's role in Indonesian politics was not realistic.
  He said he feared the possibility of anarchy and civil war.
  "If the assembly can make a new timetable for the elections and reduce the political role of the armed forces, I think this will basically satisfy the aspirations of the people," he said.
  ELECTION PLAN
  THE 1,000-MEMBER PEOPLE'S CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY, MPR, HAS BEEN CALLED TO DRAFT LAWS WHICH WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR ELECTIONS NEXT YEAR.
  THE STUDENTS ARGUE THAT THE ASSEMBLY IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE BECAUSE MOST OF ITS MEMBERS WERE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT SUHARTO, WHO WAS FORCED TO STEP DOWN AFTER MASSIVE STUDENT PROTESTS AND RIOTING IN MAY.
  In a concession to the protesters, the legislators have now agreed to include the name of former President Suharto in a decree on the elimination of corruption.
  The protesters were demanding that the government launch an official inquiry into how Mr Suharto's family acquired their wealth estimated by the American-based Forbes magazine to be in the region of $4bn.
  Speaking in an interview for Indonesian television earlier this year, the former president denied he has amassed a secret fortune.

November 11, 1998

  SHOTS FIRED AS INDONESIAN PROTESTORS MARCH
  Security forces clamp down on demonstrators
  Indonesian troops fired shots in the air in the capital, Jakarta,as demonstrators protested again over political reform.
  The action came on the second day of a special assembly debate on changes to the political system. Troops and police again blocked students trying to march to the parliament building.
  Clashes broke out after a car drove into the security forces, injuring two soldiers. Troops then fired warning shots and used sticks to beat back the demonstrators.
  The students do not believe the special assembly is sufficiently committed to change. However, the BBC correspondent in Jakarta, Jonathan Head, says there are signs that delegates will try to accommodate some of their demands.
  Our correspondent says tension appears to have eased, after the authorities disarmed gangs of youths who had been deployed against the demonstrators.
  In the legislature, the leader of the majority Golkar party protested that the security forces had over-reacted by putting tens of thousands of civilian security guards on the streets.
  THE FOUR-DAY MEETING OF THE PEOPLE'S CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY WAS EXPECTED TO DISCUSS CHANGING POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT SUHARTO.
  PRESIDENT HABIBIE - WHO PROMISED REFORM WHEN HE SUCCEEDED PRESIDENT SUHARTO IN MAY - HAS SAID THE GATHERING WILL BE A MILESTONE ON THE ROAD TO DEMOCRACY.
  BUT STUDENT LEADERS - WHO LAUNCHED THE PROTESTS THAT EVENTUALLY FORCED PRESIDENT SUHARTO TO STEP DOWN - HAVE SAID IT IS MORE LIKELY TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE THAN CREATE IT. THEY ARE OPPOSED TO PROPOSALS SUCH AS THAT GIVING THE MILITARY 10% OF PARLIAMENTARY SEATS.
  Most of the assembly members are the same loyalists who awarded President Suharto a fifth term in office in March.
  The main issues that they will be considering at the special session are:
  The date for the next election The voting system Abolishing three-party limit End to ban on rural campaigning Limiting presidential terms to two five year terms Limiting emergency powers The armed forces' role in politics
  Security stepped up
  With the country still in the grip of its worst economic crisis for decades, security was been stepped up amid fears of renewed political unrest.
  The military has deployed about 30,000 troops and police on the streets, and warships in the city harbour.
  The capital has been described as looking like a city under siege.
  The army has been patrolling every route leading to the national parliament and a steel ring of barricades and razor wire surrounds the parliamentary complex itself.
  The authorities want to prevent the assembly meeting from becoming a focus of protest against the Habibie government.
  As well as undergoing a political transformation, Indonesia faces high unemployment and inflation, with more and more people sinking into poverty.


#top
Anti-Government demonstrations in Indonesia grow more volatile. Students at Jayabaya University, in the capital, battled with the riot police Thursday after demanding that President Suharto step down   return to ISS325 page