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Mobilisation | by JamesWired
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Mobilisation

At the end of October 1998 I finished working in Tangerang, a satellite city to the west of Jakarta, and moved back to the centre of the capital. I was largely unaware of the demonstrations going on near the parliament buildings, although I did know something of the students' demands for Habibie, the acting president after Suharto's resignation, to be replaced. I'd grown used to seeing trooper carriers parked at strategical points around the CBD and didn't feel concerned about my safety. I knew nothing of what would come to be known as the Semanggi tragedy on the afternoon of November 13 when troops opened fire on protesting students killing several.

 

It was the next morning that events overtook me personally and I was caught up in the resulting riots as I left my hotel and again that evening as I struggled to get back to it.

 

I spent November 14 in Merdeka Square watching the Indonesian army use it as a staging ground while huge plumes of smoke rose into the sky over the northern suburbs. It was the worst riots since May when Suharto had been forced from office.

 

In this shot soldiers in riot gear enter the northern end of Merdeka Square in front of the Presidential Palace.

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Taken in November 1998