Jakarta: Thousands of protesters rallied across Indonesia on Monday against government plans to hike the price of fuel.

Demonstrations were held in the capital Jakarta and other cities as lawmakers gathered to decide on budget amendments that will pave the way for the government to announce the first price hike since 2008.

Fuel prices have long been a flashpoint issue in Indonesia, with economists arguing that huge government subsidies are damaging Southeast Asia's top economy.

In Jambi, a city on Sumatra island, hundreds of protesters tried to push through the gate in front of the local legislature, provincial police spokesman Almansyah said. "The situation became somewhat chaotic and the police had to fire tear gas to disperse them," Almansyah said.

Nobody managed to enter and the situation was under control, he added.

In Jakarta, some 3,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament, setting fire to tyres and waving banners that read "Reject the fuel price rise" and "hang SBY" (President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono).

"Get ready to occupy the Parliament building if they raise the fuel price," shouted one protester through a loudspeaker. About 19,000 police and military personnel were deployed across Jakarta, police said.


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