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Plot to incite public unrest persists in anti-fuel price hike protests: Indonesian minister

(Xinhua)

16:46, March 30, 2012

JAKARTA, March 30 (Xinhua)-- Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, said Friday that a plot to incite unrest like the one in May 1998 occurs in the ongoing nationwide anti-fuel price hike protests.

Djoko said that indication of the plot was seen from rampant false information distributed through media and mobile services, saying that a student was shot to death by police in a clash between police and protesters in Salemba, Central Jakarta, Thursday night. "That was not true. The truth was some people involved in the clash were injured," the minister said in his office, adding that five students and 10 police officers were injured in the clash.

He added that his office has asked the cyber crime task force of the national police to arrest people who spread the false information.

According to the minister, the move was aimed at undermining the police force and attempting to incite a public unrest that would eventually wreck national stability.

The scenario was like the one happened in May 1998 when massive public riot prompted the downfall of then president Soeharto. The riot was incited by the death of four students, allegedly shot at by snipers, when they staged protests against Soeharto's government in west Jakarta. "I am convinced that the information was distributed by people who do not want to see stable condition among the public,"Djoko said.

According to Djoko, he was ordered by the president to explain the real situation of the protest in Salemba on Thursday night to maintain the country's stability. "We certainly do not want to see such thing like in 1998. We do not want to see it happens again in our country. We want to awake, not to get hampered by slander moves like this,"the minister said.

Meanwhile, protests that conducted jointly by students, workers, public organizations and opposition political parties were still underway.

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the parliament building, waiting to see whether or not the government's plan to increase subsidized fuel price to 6,000 rupiah (about 0.6 U.S. dollars) per liter from the current 4,500 rupiah would be approved or not.

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