More Chinese shops burned in Indonesia rioting

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Ethnically charged rioting flared again in Indonesia on Sunday and officials put the death toll at five after days of violence ignited by soaring food prices and a devastated economy.

Chinese-owned stores continued to take the brunt of the violence, as many angry people blamed them for prices that have jumped as much as 400 percent.

Witnesses say as many as 10 churches and dozens of Chinese-owned stores and homes have been ransacked or burned.

Six shops burned, and eight were damaged, in the latest round of violence in Kadipaten, 125 miles east of Jakarta. There were no reports of injuries.

"Hundreds were in streets, screaming and throwing rocks. They were angry about rising prices by Chinese shopkeepers," said resident Hari Susanto.

On Sunday, police flew reinforcement troops to Praya, on the tourist island of Lombok, 625 miles east of Jakarta. Police said two men were killed there and nine injured on Saturday when mobs made their way through the city's streets.

Security forces on Java shot dead two men on Friday, and a third man was trampled to death by a crowd, officials reported earlier.

Police defended their action as self-defense against steel-bar wielding rioters.

"If the rioters try to hurt my men, I will not tolerate it," Central Java military chief Maj. Gen. Mardiyanto was quoted as saying by the official Antara news agency.

About 300 people have been arrested since the violence began spreading from Java.

Jakarta was quiet on Sunday.
A day earlier, under tight security, Indonesia's second largest Muslim group, the Muhammadiyah, held a rally in the capital city.

In an unprecedented move, the group's leader, Amien Rais, called for a change of leadership in Indonesia, and volunteered himself as a candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for March. Rais also said the Chinese community should not be blamed for the nation's troubles.

"Because the Chinese are also our brothers and sisters and they have become one integrated part and parcel of this Indonesian nation. What I would say is that they have to direct their anger, by protesting to the government," he said.

Ethnic Chinese make up about 4 percent of the nation's 202 million population, which is 90 percent Muslim.

Many Chinese shopkeepers say they are being treated as scapegoats because a fraction of Chinese are among Indonesia's wealthy citizens.

In some towns, fearful non-Chinese residents have painted "Muslim" or "Islam" on their doors to protect themselves against the violence.

Thousands of security forces have fanned throughout the troubled region in recent days. But there are too few spread over too large an area. Indonesia's active armed forces total about 300,000, with another 174,000 police. The nation of some 17,000 islands spreads out 3,000 miles along the equator.

Jakarta Bureau Chief Maria Ressa, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.