Student’s death after his arrest sparks violent protests in Indonesia

About 1,000 Indonesian protesters angered by a student demonstrator's death after his arrest burned tires and hurled stones at police guarding the Parliament on Tuesday, witnesses said.

Participants in the demonstration in Jakarta also demanded that the government revoke a 30 percent fuel price increase imposed last month. The dead student had been protesting the price hike.

Tuesday's protesters started at Parliament, then headed to other parts of the capital where they blocked traffic and vandalized property.

Police used a water cannon to douse the flames and disperse protesters trying to break into the grounds of Parliament.

Elsewhere, protesters smashed and torched police cars and forced the brief closure of a toll road to the international airport, said Dominikus, a spokesman for the toll road operator who, like many Indonesians, goes by a single name.

The main group carried a fake coffin and pictures of Maftuh Fauzi, a 27-year-old student at the National University who had been among 100 fuel price protesters arrested May 24. He died in hospital last Friday, but there were conflicting reports about the cause.

The Indonesian Doctors' Association was seeking clarification from Pertamina Hospital, which said Fauzi died of HIV/AIDS. Students say he was beaten by police and died of his injuries.

A National Human Rights Commission investigation concluded Tuesday that the police raid violated the students' rights and called for an independent autopsy for Fauzi, said commissioner Nur Kholis.

Indonesia's government raised gasoline pump prices by nearly 30 percent on May 23 because of the surging cost of oil and gas on the global market. The move triggered generally peaceful protests throughout the vast Indonesian archipelago, a nation of 235 million people.

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