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Euphoria, Relief Greet Resignation

Hundreds of students danced in the fountains of the legislature's gardens, threw fists in the air and cheered Thursday after President Suharto granted their main wish: He resigned.

"We are very, very happy," said Morzan Eqbal, an Indonesian university student. "We wanted Suharto to go for a very long time. We have made it. But we still have a lot to do."

The students had taken over Indonesia's Parliament on Monday, as part of a wave of anti-Suharto protests.

Pandemonium reigned as giddy students romped through offices, shredding political documents into confetti and kicking back in lawmakers' chairs, feet up and cigarettes dangling.

In jeans and sneakers, they tracked mud through the marble-floored halls where staid legislators strolled only days ago. With no interference from the army, they reveled in the freedom of their three-day takeover.

The adolescent rampage -- a raucous protest against President Suharto's 32-year rule -- left the imposing parliament complex looking like the aftermath of a rock concert. Plastic bottles, cigarette ashes and food wrappers were scattered everywhere.

They smashed cassette recordings of parliamentary hearings, lobbing the reels of tape into the air.

Laughing, they dumped boxes of parliamentary archives, tearing documents into shreds and showering the bits from a rooftop onto clapping crowds below. Some fashioned documents into paper planes and sailed them off the balconies.

"I don't know. I don't care," one protester muttered when asked if he thought his vandalism was improper.

Up on the green-domed roof of the main chamber, where someone had scrawled "Kill Suharto" in giant letters, there also were personal messages.

"For Uben, my love is higher than this building," one starry-eyed student had written.

Organizers had promised to stay at Parliament until Suharto met their demands to quit immediately rather than wait to hold general elections. Their defiance set the stage for confrontation had the military intervened.

"The students have negotiated with the army. As long as there is no burning or damage it will be calm," said student leader Agung Esa.

But the leaders at times were unable to control the joyous throng, and grew edgy when protesters surged into the assembly hall. Organizers shooed them out and prevented news photographers from taking pictures.

"This building has historical value. It is not good to occupy it," said Ahmad Tjahya, a student who ordered several people out.

Teams of students also patrolled the Parliament grounds, sweeping up trash and even cornering a thief masqueraded as a student who tried to steal two stereos.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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