Indonesia: November 25, 1999

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Some 2,500 protesters broke into the parliament district of Jakarta demanding an independence  referendum for Aceh province. There has been independence unrest in Aceh throughout the 1990s, and army and police efforts to suppress the violence have killed some 2,000 people. The army was heavy handed in many of their operations and the troops were not disciplined. There were many cases of rape and robbery during "anti-rebel" operations. Many Indonesians are now calling for the generals in charge of the Aceh garrison to stand trial. Although the army began withdrawing troops this summer, some 300 people were killed between May and August. Violence continues and, seeing East Timor gain independence has encouraged the separatists in Aceh. Few others in Indonesia, or neighboring countries, wants an independent Aceh. But many Aceh people are arming and training to fight. 

November 23; The president of  Indonesia said that the referendum in Aceh could decide many things, including the local use of Islamic sharia law, but not independence. This has put him at odds with a growing number of armed Aceh separatists.  Meanwhile, the government has sent another 870 police to Aceh, to handle the growing unrest.

November 20; The army has suggested imposing martial law in Aceh, while moderates in the province insist that this would radicalize more people and lead to greater violence.

November 19; The UN is having a hard time getting all the East Timorese refugees out of West Timor camps. The Indonesian army is not cooperating, and the UN has taken to deception to get refugees past the still present anti-independence militias hanging around near the camps.

 

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