Opening Fire in Jakarta

  • Share
  • Read Later
Indonesia's police today fired on student protesters, in what might be a fateful decision by President Suharto: "The students are children of the elite," says TIME correspondent William Dowell. "When you start beating them up, torturing them or killing them, you may be striking the tinder that sparks strong reaction to Suharto among powerful families."

Initial reports suggested that four students were killed and many more were injured when police fired into a crowd of 5,000 in Jakarta -- it was unclear whether they used sharp ammunition or plastic-coated bullets. Police also violently dispersed protesters in other cities. "The student protests are turning out to be much more durable than anyone expected," says Dowell. "There seems to be a web of resistance building up there which hasn't really existed before." Bad news for the aging Suharto, and, in the absence of an obvious successor, it may also bring Indonesia another year of living dangerously.