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Ex-President Joint Student Demo Outside Presidential Palace

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Former President Abdurrahman Wahid along with hundreds of university students staged a demonstration outside the presidential palace here Friday to protest several government policies.

ANTARA reported they protested the government`s plan to raise fuel oil prices and the Helsinki agreement signed by the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

Wahid or who is popularly called Gus Dur took part in the rally seated in a wheel-chair. He suffered s stroke at least two times in the past.

Speaking with reporters. Gus Dur said the protest was not aimed at anybody nor was it an opposition movement. What the demonstrators wanted was to express their rejection of the peace agreement signed by the government and GAM in Helsinki on Aug 15. Gus Dur said the peace pact would only pave the way for Aceh to become an independent state.

He also said if Aceh becomes an independent country six other provinces and areas, namely North Sulawesi, Minahasa, Maluku, North Maluku, East Kalimantan, and Papua would follow suit.

Police kept guard over the demonstration which was held in conjunction with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s 56th birthday.

Jakarta Police Chief Inspector Gen Firman Gani was also present to secure the protest.

Echie, a protestor who was also spokesman of University of Indonesias Students Action Front, said the government`s plan to raise fuel oil prices again would trigger a spiral in the prices of basic commodities which in the long run would worsen the people`s life.(*)

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