Wed, 17 May 2000

Rioting erupts in Semarang

SEMARANG, Central Java: Hundreds of people ran amok in the Tawang Mas area here on Tuesday morning, vandalizing a cinema in the Semarang Recreation and Exhibition Center.

The reasons for the riot remain sketchy, but it is believed to have been triggered by local people's frustration over a neighboring construction project, which they claim had caused flooding in the residential area.

The riot erupted as residents and local councillors were having a dialog about the issue.

"The residents argued that ever since a construction project started near the river, their houses had often been inundated by floods," said Semarang councillor Munif.

"Suddenly they became angry and started rioting," he said.

Two people have been detained, Semarang Police chief Col. Mathius Salempang said later on Tuesday.

No fatalities were recorded.

By late afternoon the situation was under control as troops were deployed in the area to avoid further rioting. (har/edt)