Bad Omens

Weda/AFP.

Thousands of student protesters march to the Presidential Palace demanding that President Wahid resign.

Javanese rulers have long gazed upon an eruption of Mount Merapi as an omen of troubled times ahead. So when the central Java volcano began sputtering and oozing lava early last week, many Indonesians recognized a portent of ill tidings for President Abdurrahman Wahid, the nearly blind 60-year-old Muslim cleric who has fitfully governed the country for the past 15 months.

Wahid didn't need a soothsayer to read the rumbles of Merapi: he only had to look as far as Jakarta's parliament for the source of his woes. While thousands of demonstratorsósome for Wahid, but most against himóbellowed at one another...

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