Indonesia's ex-president Wahid buried

Thousands lined narrow streets on Thursday for the funeral of ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid.

Indonesia's ex-president Wahid buried

Thousands lined narrow streets on Thursday for the funeral of ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid, a charismatic Muslim cleric known for his unflinching defence of pluralism on Indonesia's chaotic path to democracy.

Wahid, usually known affectionately by the nickname Gus Dur, became president in 1999 on a wave of optimism in the turmoil following former strongman president Suharto's fall from power.

The cleric, who in more recent years suffered several strokes and was nearly blind, died at the age of 69 on Wednesday.



Crowds surged towards his coffin wrapped in Indonesia's red and white flag as it was carried in the streets of his home town of Jombang in East Java. Muslim clerics in white said prayers. Buddhist monks and Christian leaders also attended.

The jocular cleric, whose catchphrase was "Gitu aja kok repot" ("What's the big deal"), became the first democratically elected president in Indonesia in October 1999, edging out Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of founding President Sukarno.

Wahid never returned to power, but despite his frail health, remained an influential figure in politics.

Despite Indonesia having no formal ties with Israel, Wahid once traveled to Tel Aviv to sign a charter.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was energy minister under Wahid, led the state funeral procession in Jombang.

Thousands of ordinary Indonesians also flocked to get near Wahid's body, which was taken to the Ulil Albab mosque near the Islamic boarding school complex set up by his grandfather.



Reuters

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2009, 11:37
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