Some 1,000 members of a youth wing of a Muslim political party rallied in downtown Jakarta Wednesday to demand the ousting of President Abdurrahman Wahid.
The protestors, from the Justice Guard of the Muslim Justice Party, mounted the protest hours before the politically-beleaguered Wahid was due home from a two-week overseas trip.
They packed the center of a roundabout, chanting “Allah is the Greatest.”
Waving posters and banners, they demanded that parliament depose the president, a Muslim scholar, for his failure to prevent the bloody unrest in several parts of the archipelago.
Many of the posters blamed Wahid for having failed to prevent or stem the spread of bloody violence against predominantly Muslim Madurese migrants by indigenous Dayak tribesmen in Central Kalimantan.
The violence there, that broke out in mid February, has left some 500 killed by official count and over 50,000 people evacuated out of the province.
A large banner carried by the protesters labelled Wahid as “the main cheater of the people,” and “while another urged the lower house to call for a special impeachment session of the national assembly.
Wahid — who has protested his innocence in the scandals — has said he holds the support of the majority of Indonesians and is determined to serve out the rest of his term until 2004.
He is scheduled to arrive back from his controversial trip abroad around midnight Wednesday, and to fly to Central Kalimantan a few hours later for talks with community leaders there.