Indonesia's Reformasi, 20 years on

Thousands of students and activists staging a protest on Parliament's grounds in May 1998 to demand the resignation of Indonesian leader Suharto. Protesters, lawmakers and the military were eventually united in removing the strongman of 32 years from
Thousands of students and activists staging a protest on Parliament's grounds in May 1998 to demand the resignation of Indonesian leader Suharto. Protesters, lawmakers and the military were eventually united in removing the strongman of 32 years from power in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, starting the process of reform known as Reformasi.PHOTO: ANTARA

While Indonesians can take pride in their democracy, many challenges remain

Former student activist Ari Perdana, 43, remembers watching then Indonesian President Suharto's resignation speech on TV in May 1998. He was relieved that what demonstrators sought had finally happened - after months of protests on campuses that culminated in university students occupying Parliament's grounds and its iconic roof.

"That was not an ending we had anticipated and events occurred faster than expected," Mr Ari, who now works for an international organisation, told The Sunday Times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 19, 2018, with the headline 'Reformasi, 20 years on'. Print Edition | Subscribe