Police opened fire on thousands of anti-government demonstrators at a Jakarta university campus, killing six and wounding more than a dozen others in the bloodiest outbreak of violence yet in Indonesia’s growing political crisis. Witnesses said police fired down from an overpass for several minutes on protesters at the prestigious Trisakti University, inflicting the first student deaths in nearly three months of demonstrations at campuses across the country calling for an end to the authoritarian government of the dictator Suharto. Weeping students gathered outside the morgue at Jakarta’s Sumber Waras Hospital, where officials said four corpses with gunshot wounds had been taken, this according to the Reuters news service. Police and military officials later confirmed that six people had died in the melee and that at least 16 had been wounded. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement, the United States “deplores the killings” and for the first time called publicly for political reform in Indonesia, this after last week when the U.S. Clinton administration pushed through $1 billion in loan guarantees for Indonesia without any human rights conditions.
A defiant India conducted two more underground nuclear tests in the desert today, just days after setting off three blasts that outraged the world. In a statement, the government said its testing is now complete, and it’s prepared to consider a ban on such nuclear testing. India refused to sign a global test ban treaty approved by the United Nations in 1996, arguing it froze the advantage held by nations like the United States and France that had already tested and refined sophisticated nuclear weapons. On Monday, after the first tests were conducted, the government indicated India was prepared to reopen talks on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but this time as a nuclear state. In response, President Clinton has ordered economic sanctions, including a cutoff in U.S. assistance to India, though precise details are still unclear.
Israeli war planes attacked a training camp for Palestinians in eastern Lebanon early today, killing eight and wounding at least 20 as they slept, according to Lebanese security officials. The night raid was the deadliest by Israeli war planes since the 16-day Israeli aerial and ground bombing blitz of Lebanon killed at least 175 people in April of 1996.
Iraq Sanctions Challenge delegates held an angry demonstration outside the United States interest section in downtown Baghdad yesterday. Close to a 100 delegates participated in the protest. They were demanding an end to the U.S.-led United Nations sanctions that have killed more than 1.5 million Iraqi people. Delegates chanted “U.S. hands off Iraq” and “one-two-three-four, we don’t want your racist war, five-six-seven-eight, we will not participate.” Signs and banners reading “money for tuition not war” and “end sanctions on Iraq” hung from the sides of their buses. Delegates carried protest signs from their own areas of the United States to show the diversity of the group. The group, which brought $4 million in medical aid, returns to the United States tonight. It was led by Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to restore food stamps to a quarter-million legal immigrants after conservatives failed to derail the measure on grounds that it amounted to a retreat from welfare reform.
Two former executives of Texaco, Inc., who had been taped discussing the destruction of documents demanded in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company were found not guilty yesterday on charges they tried to obstruct justice. Lawyers for Richard Lundwall, the man who secretly recorded the meetings, and Robert Ulrich, the former treasurer of the big oil company, said the acquittals vindicated their arguments that the two had done nothing illegal. But the verdict by the jury of eight men and four women in a federal court in White Plains stunned and angered civil rights leaders who said it was based on technicalities and sent a disturbing message about permissible behavior by corporate officers.
A federal judge in Oklahoma City rejected a plea for leniency for Michael Fortier, the man who never warned the authorities about the Oklahoma City bombing three years ago, but who later became a leading government witness against the two men who were convicted. The judge indicated that he might impose a harsher sentence on Fortier than the 11 to 14 years suggested by prosecutors. Fortier has pleaded guilty to failing to warn officials about of the plot, to lying to the FBI, and to two charges involving the transportation of stolen firearms.