Election Riot in Jakarta: Six Reported Dead, More than 200 Injured
Rabu, 22/05/2019 | 10:33
| Cars that were burned by protesters are seen during an overnight demonstration near by the Elections Oversight Body (Bawaslu) in Jakarta. PHOTOGRAPH: Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images|
JAKARTA-Six people are dead and more than 200 are injured after mobs clashed with security forces and set fire to a police dormitory and vehicles in the Indonesian capital following the release of official election results.
National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said protests by supporters of an unsuccessful presidential candidate turned violent late on Tuesday and continued through the night. Police said they had arrested 20 “provocateurs”.
Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said six people had died and 200 were injured in the violence.
KompasTV showed protesters throwing rocks, a paramilitary police dormitory on fire, and hundreds of riot police in a central neighbourhood of the city. One man reportedly died after sustaining a gunshot wound in the melee, according to Indonesian news website Tirto.com.
Prasetyo said police were checking on reports of casualties, but stressed that security officers on the ground, which include military personnel, were not equipped with live bullets.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who threw rocks, molotov cocktails and burning projectiles.
The capital has been on edge in recent days ahead of the official announcement of the April presidential election results, which on Tuesday confirmed that incumbent President Joko Widodo had won a second term, with 55.5% of the vote.
His opponent, fiery ex-special forces commander Prabowo Subianto has refused to accept the results, alleging the poll was marred by widespread fraud – a claim his team is yet to produce compelling evidence to support.
The opposition said on Tuesday they would contest the results in court, a repeat move of Prabowo’s unsuccessful bid for president in 2014.
In recent weeks key figures in the Prabowo camp have called for “people power” as a response to the electoral outcome, with at least two associated figures facing treason charges as a result.
More than 30,000 troops have been deployed to secure the Indonesian capital ahead of a planned protest, with some government offices and schools closed as a precaution.
Tensions have been exacerbated by a string of recent arrests of terrorist suspects, who police say had planned to create chaos by bombing the post-election protests.
Police on Tuesday arrested a former general for allegedly smuggling weapons to the protest, while authorities confiscated Molotov cocktails from one minibus of Prabowo supporters traveling to the capital from Java.
As of Wednesday morning protestors had started to gather outside the elections supervisory agency building. (*)
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