Violent protests gripped the streets of Jakarta for the second day today, as police struggled to contain crowds enraged by the passage of a bill giving the military power to revoke civil liberties in "emergency situations."
A crowd of about 1,000 people hurled stones and molotov cocktails at anti-riot police who had sealed off a section of the main road through the capital of Jakarta outside Atma Jaya University this morning. Police responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
On Thursday, reporters and protesters said three demonstrators were killed in clashes with riot police in Jakarta. Officials and hospitals could not confirm the deaths.
A total of 53 people were injured in the first day of protests, the SCTV network reported. At least four people were rushed to a hospital with bullet wounds, while other injured protesters were taken to a makeshift clinic. "This government wants the military to take over everything," said Dani Syahrir, 21, a computer technology student. "We, the students of Indonesia, absolutely reject that because it means the death of democracy."
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the country's second-largest city, Surabaya, and hundreds rallied on the resort island of Bali. Some 300 students marched at the governor's office in the violence-wracked province of Aceh, smashing windows and fighting with police.
In Jakarta, about 5,000 protesters clashed with police on a highway leading to parliament.