Rival Gangs Brawl in Indonesia
Feb. 22, 1999
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Security officers fired warning shots to break up a brawl between rival gangs Monday in a part of Indonesia that has been plagued by religious rioting. At least one person was injured.
Violence between Muslim and Christians in Maluku province, 1,400 miles northeast of Jakarta, has killed at least 127 people this year.
The latest unrest was not sparked by religious tensions but authorities responded quickly to prevent the brawl from escalating.
``We prevented them from more violence with warning shots and then it stopped,'' police Sgt. Wagimun said by telephone from Saparua Island. Like many Indonesians, Wagimun uses only one name.
One resident was hospitalized after being shot in the stomach, Dr. Anis Paranuan said.
Indonesia has endured social and political turmoil in the past year _ including the downfall of President Suharto in May after 32 years of authoritarian rule. The Southeast Asian nation is also suffering its worst economic crisis in decades.
In Jakarta on Monday, 150 workers who lost their jobs at a bankrupt garment factory protested peacefully at the labor ministry to demand severance fees from the company.
``They said they wanted to help us, but they lied,'' yelled Nayang, an angry worker.