10/01/2005

Fuel Hikes Spark Protests in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Dramatic fuel price hikes took effect Saturday as Indonesia sought to revive its beleaguered economy, sparking transport strikes that left thousands stranded and protests from people who have long enjoyed some of the cheapest gasoline in the world.

Demonstrators burned tires and effigies of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, while others commandeered diesel trucks and blocked roads.

Later, several explosions rocked the Indonesian resort island of Bali, killing at least 22 and wounding dozens more. The bombings occurred nearly three years to the day that blasts blamed on the al-Qaida-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

The government, reacting to soaring global oil prices, announced just after midnight Saturday that the prices of gasoline would rise 87 percent to $1.67 a gallon, diesel fuel would more than double and kerosene would triple.

The increases will push up the price of everything from rice to cigarettes in the sprawling archipelago of 220 million people, half of whom live on less than $2 a day.

Fuel Hikes Spark Protests in Indonesia

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