Thousands of Indonesians protest against corruption

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Several thousand people marched earlier today in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, to protest corruption in the country.

Most of them were students protesting the latest corruption scandal in the country. It involves allegations that a US$600 million government bailout was given to Century Bank on condition that some of the money be used to fund the president's re-election campaign.

"Today's aim is not to attack politically any party. We just want to send a message to our fellow countrymen [...] that justice cannot be served while corruption is still rampant in our country," said the organiser of the demonstration, Usman Hamid, as quoted by the Al Jazeera news agency.

The legislature is investigating the bailout and the possible roles played by Vice President Boediono and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani in orchestrating a deal. The government, however, denies the charges.

Thousands more demonstrated in other cities and towns across the country. Most rallies were without incident, but in the town of Makassar, located in South Sulawesi, students armed with rocks and wooden planks clashed with anti-riot police.

The news media report that police fired tear gas to break up the crowd after protesters tried to storm the provincial governor's office. There was no immediate report of injuries or arrests among the 2,000 protesters.