Six dead after election riots erupt in Indonesia's capital

Karina M. Tehusijarana

Karina M. Tehusijarana

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was declared the victor of the 2019 presidential election by the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Tuesday (21 May) after winning the re-election with 55.5% of the vote, in a poll that is widely deemed as fair.

Meanwhile, some social media sites have been blocked by the Indonesian authorities in an attempt to prevent the spread of fake news as well as to stunt the use of the platforms by the rioters.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told TVOne that by the morning six people had been killed and 200 wounded.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has ensured that the security situation remains under control and asked the public to not worry.

Authorities blamed the violence on paid "provocateurs", citing money-filled envelopes they said were found on some of the 257 demonstrators arrested.

"They meant to carry out jihad during May 21 and 22 protests", national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said of the two, adding that they belonged to a group called Garis, which had pledged support for ISIS. Police pushed back the main group of rioters after firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators.

Crowds supporting Subianto echoed the losing candidate's allegations of election fraud, gathering outside the Elections Supervisory Agency's headquarters in the center of Jakarta.

On its Foreign Travel advice web page, the UK Government wrote: "Following the official announcement of the general election results on May 21 there have been demonstrations in central Jakarta, some of which have resulted in violence".

"I will not tolerate anyone disrupting the security. or unity of the country, or those who disrupt the democratic process", he told a briefing at the palace.

"Election is only an event from Indonesian state's long journey, and as the head of state and head of government I have an obligation to maintain political and security stability", he said.

Prabowo called for peaceful protests and restraint.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation news crew said it was attacked without warning by a mob.

Tens of thousands of Indonesian military and police were deployed on the streets of Jakarta on Thursday (May 23), as a deadline approached for a presidential challenger to file an appeal over claims of widespread cheating in last month's election. However, Islamist supporters of Prabowo could cause considerable disruption.

Police warned they are expecting more angered voters to arrive in Jakarta to demonstrate, with clashes set to continue.

Islamist groups, many of which support Prabowo, have in the past been able to mobilise mass support.

At a news conference, police displayed suspects in orange jumpsuits as well as petrol bombs, makeshift arrows, sickles and cash in envelopes.

Another man died of bullet wounds, news website reported, quoting a doctor at another hospital.

Authorities said the victims died from gunshots or blunt force trauma, but denied that they fired live rounds on the crowds.

National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said 69 people had been arrested at the protests.

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