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The Death Throes Of Indonesia's Dictatorship

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Published on Dec 11, 2014

A Dictator Bows Out (1998)
People power brings about the fall of Suharto, Indonesia's notorious dictator.

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On the morning of May 21st, 1998, students crowd around the TV in the parliament they have occupied to hear President Suharto announce his resignation. Amid cheers, cries and prayers, a dictator was gone. On May 12th, six young men were shot dead by the army. A day later, Jakarta - Indonesia, was on fire. A total of 4,000 shops and supermarkets were burned down or looted. Over 400 bodies were found. Muslim leader Dr Amien Rais tells nervous parliamentarians Suharto must go. Right outside the students have begun their occupation of the parliament. When Rais emerges, he's greeted like a hero. That night there is a powerful and emotive mass memorial for the students killed at Trisakti. Tense days follow as the world waits for Suharto to strike back. Respected Muslim leader Abdurachman Wahid pleads with the President. The constitution would protect him, Suharto told him. On May 20th Amien Rais tells his supporters not to demonstrate. The students in the parliament decide to remain inside. Many of Suharto’s ageing cronies urge him to step down. But not until 17 ministers offer their resignation does he get the message. ‘He was a crook, a hypocrite’ says Amien Rais.

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ABC Australia: Ref 0442

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