6 killed in Indonesian election violence

Saul Bowman
May 23, 2019

Indonesian President Joko Widodo comfortably won re-election in last month's poll, an official count showed yesterday.

Authorities clad in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse crowds from downtown Jakarta early Wednesday morning, as some demonstrators refused to leave the area and hurled fireworks and rocks at police.

Vehicles and a paramilitary police dormitory were set on fire during the night as police attempted to corral the situation with the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons, the Telegraph reported.

Rudiantara, the communications and information technology minister, said social media including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp will be restricted on a temporary basis to prevent the spread of hoaxes and inflammatory content.

National Police spokesman Mohammad Iqba told reporters that 58 people had been arrested in connection to the riot.

But the violence in Jakarta was a planned act by paid "provocateurs", authorities claimed, citing envelopes with money found on some of almost 70 demonstrators who had been arrested.

"We know who is behind this, it is a matter of time", he said, adding that security was under control.

Protests erupted in Jakarta following Tuesday's surprise announcement by Indonesia's General Elections Commission, known as the KPU, that Joko Widodo had beat out Prabowo Subinato to secure a second term as president.

Prabowo refused to accept the results and declared himself the victor.

Prabowo's legal director has said his campaign plans to contest the result in the Constitutional Court.

In the past week, authorities have arrested three pro-Subianto activists on suspicion of treason, said Prasetyo, including a retired general and former commander of Indonesia's special forces.

More than 30,000 troops have been deployed across the capital amid reports of protests after the publication of the official election results. Police allege there was a plot to seize crucial government buildings in Jakarta.

"We will not accept KPU vote counting results as long as it is based on fraud", he said, referring to his camp's media briefing a week ago where he made allegations of vote-rigging and claimed his camp had gathered evidence to support his claims. "From the beginning, Prabowo has called for a peaceful rally", presidential campaign team spokesman Dahnil Anzar Simandjuntak said when arriving at Prabowo's private residence on Jl. "And so I plead to all elements of the people exercising their aspirations: the police, the armed forces, and everyone else to refrain from acts of physical harm".

Widodo was congratulated for winning the election by former president and Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is part of the coalition backing Prabowo.

Protesters try to put out fire from a burning tyre in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

He said hospitals were conducting post-mortems to determine the cause of the deaths.

In his bid to oust Widodo, Subianto ran a hard-line Muslim campaign, hoping to capitalize on religious conservatism's new momentum in Indonesia.

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