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Indonesians protest suggested rise in subsidized gas prices

June 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM   |   Comments

JAKARTA, June 17 (UPI) -- The Indonesian House of Representatives met Monday to discuss raising the price of subsidized gasoline, prompting protests by those against the measure.

Indonesia's government wants to raise the price of gasoline by 44 percent, from 45 U.S. cents to 65 cents per liter (0.26 gallon), to help lessen the country's debt, The New York Times reported.

Thousands of people gathered outside government buildings and elsewhere in Jakarta to protest any increase in gas prices.

However, the Finance Ministry said the money the government spends on gas subsidies could reach $23 billion this year, compared with about $20 billion in 2012.

The World Bank and other international lenders have urged Indonesia to abandon its subsidy program all together, saying that money could go to other social programs.

Indonesia's Democratic Party of Struggle, the main opposition party in Indonesia, said it is opposed to raising gas prices.

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