Watch CBSN Live

Students Ordered To Leave Parliament

Indonesian soldiers on Friday ordered student protesters to end their six-day occupation of the country's Parliament building.

"Disperse, disperse!" shouted military police carrying M-16 rifles, truncheons, and tear gas canisters. Some students, many holding sticks, formed a barrier as the security forces approached.

The students had decided to stay at Parliament even though their main demand was realized Thursday, when President Suharto resigned after 32 years in power. However, students said they did not trust his successor, Baharuddin Jusuf "B.J." Habibie, a long-time aide to Suharto.

Earlier, Habibie named his Cabinet and promised to clear out the corrupt government, dumping ministers regarded as cronies of ex-President Suharto.

Suharto's eldest daughter and his multimillionaire golfing buddy were among those banished from the 36-member Cabinet, named just 24 hours after Habibie was sworn in with the backing of the country's powerful military.

Six serving or retired army generals and six prominent Muslim figures were included. The majority are members of the ruling Golkar party. They are to serve until 2003, when Habibie will finish serving Suharto's term.

Amien Rais
But But Indonesia's main opposition figure, Amien Rais, who has called for an end to cronyism, said the Cabinet "reflected the old ways" of Suharto.

Rais, a high-profile Muslim leader, said he believed the new Cabinet would not last until 2003, and repeated his insistence that there must be elections leading to a real democracy.

Habibie defended his "Cabinet of reform" in a nationally televised speech from the Presidential Palace, saying it had representation from all of Indonesia's three officially-recognized political parties, the armed forces and other groups.

But Habibie also made concessions to the military-backed elite.

Military commander Gen. Wiranto remains defense minister. Wiranto's armed forces have pledged support for Habibie and were maintaining order on the streets of the capital with troops and tanks after days of unrest.

Students were celebrating their victory at Parliament Friday when clashes broke out. Rock-throwing ensued after thousands of pro-Habibie supporters confronted the anti-government student protesters.

Habibie, handpicked by Suharto to serve as Indonesia's third president since the country won independence from the Dutch in 1945, already has angered opposition groups, who fear Suharto might try to exercise power from the sidelines.

"Bring down Habibie! Put Suharto on trial!" a group of about 1,500 students chanted.

Indonesia's problems go even deeper. The economy has collapsed here, and poverty worsens every day. The troubled market was mae worse by rioting after huge price hikes that were part of a program mandated by the International Monetary Fund.

Last week, widespread looting broke out in Jakarta. But Friday, there was hope for a new beginning.

"Change will help the economy," one man told CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen. It will make my life better."

Many Indonesians are savoring the day they brought Suharto down. They hope to rebuild the economy, and bring the country under the management of the people.

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

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue