The Associated Press
JAKARTA, Indonesia - In stunning TV footage, an Indonesian police officer aimed his grenade launcher into the face of a cowering protester and fired point-blank.
The protester, indignant at a court's dismissal of corruption charges against former President Suharto, was one of hundreds who had poured into rain-swept streets yesterday.
About 100 yards from the courthouse, a line of police carrying Plexiglas shields and bamboo staves charged, with the protesters fleeing down the wide avenue.
But the attack victim inexplicably crouched on a sidewalk, covering his head with his hands. Police surrounded him, and one officer aimed a tear gas launcher into his face.
The round burst in a yellowish-white flash - the impact pitching the young man over his side.
At least 10 other officers then began beating and kicking the protest victim. One officer tried to beat him with another grenade launcher, which discharged and enveloped the group in a cloud of gas.
Bleeding and semiconscious, the victim was taken to a hospital.
It was not possible to immediately determine how badly hurt he was.
Indonesia's security forces, which formed the main pillar of Suharto's 32-year dictatorship, have a long tradition of brutality.
But scenes like yesterday's had not been seen in the capital since President Abdurrahman Wahid - the country's first freely elected leader in four decades - assumed office a year ago.
Wahid, who is on a trip through South America, had urged on Wednesday that protesters be allowed to throw rocks at Suharto's home, adding the former leader deserved it.