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At least six dead as protestors clash with police over Indonesian election result

Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan said about 200 people had been injured.

Police seen guarding the barbed wire barricade in front of the Election Supervisory Agency building, Jakarta, Indonesia
Police seen guarding the barbed wire barricade in front of the Election Supervisory Agency building, Jakarta, Indonesia
Image: Aditya Saputra via PA Images

AT LEAST SIX people have been killed in riots in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta following the re-election of President Joko Widodo. 

Some of the thousands of protestors hurled stones and fireworks at riot police who lined up behind a razor wire barricade near the election supervisory agency building. 

Police pushed back the main group of rioters after firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators.

Six people died in the riots, according to the national police chief.

He denied authorities had fired live rounds at protestors and called for calm. 

“Some had gunshot wounds, some had blunt force wounds but we still need to clarify this,” he told reporters.

Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan said about 200 people had been injured.

At least three police officers were injured in the clashes, according to an AFP reporter on the scene. 

Indonesia: Post-election protests in Jakarta Six people have been killed and 200 others injured Protesters in front of the Election Supervisory Agency Source: Aditya Saputra via PA Images

Earlier today, dozens of people were arrested and parts of Jakarta were littered with debris and burned-out cars, as the violence triggered security advisories from the US and Australian embassies.

Authorities also restricted access to some social media in a bid to stop rumours and fake news from spreading online.

Election 

The violence comes after Indonesia’s election commission yesterday confirmed Widodo had beaten retired military general Prabowo Subianto for the presidency in a poll held on 17 April.

Subianto, an ultra-nationalist politician, has refused to accept the official results of the April 17 election and instead declared himself the winner.

The Election Commission said Widodo, the first Indonesian president from outside the Jakarta elite, had won 55.5% of the vote, securing the moderate technocrat a second term as leader of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Subianto, an elite figure from a wealthy family connected to former dictator Suharto, also lost to Widodo in 2014. He has made four unsuccessful bids for the presidency since Suharto was ousted in 1998.

Subianto has said he would challenge the results in court – as he did, unsuccessfully, against Widodo in 2014 – but also warned his claims of widespread cheating could spark street protests.

Indonesia: Post-election protests in Jakarta Six people have been killed and 200 others injured Six people have been killed and 200 others injured in mass action against the re-election of Indonesian President Joko Widodo Source: Aditya Saputra via PA Images

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

The early morning clashes began after several thousand Subianto supporters rallied peacefully yesterday evening.

Speaking at a press briefing, Widodo said: ”I open myself to anyone who wants to develop this nation, but I won’t tolerate anyone who tries to disrupt public security, the democratic process or the unity of our… country.”

Subianto had called for the protesters to go home, and again urged them to avoid violence.

“Trust in your leaders. We are struggling in the legal and constitutional way,” he said in a video on his Twitter feed.

“We’re all looking for the best solution for the nation.”

The former military man – who has strong ties to the Suharto dictatorship that collapsed in 1998 – has kept up a steady stream of rhetoric since unofficial results for last month’s poll put bitter rival Widodo ahead by a wide margin.

Election officials and analysts have discounted Subianto’s claims, but many supporters appeared convinced of rampant cheating in the world’s third-biggest democracy behind India and the United States.

More than 30,000 troops had been deployed across the city in anticipation of unrest, and the elections commission office was barricaded with razor wire and protected by scores of security personnel.

Includes reporting by Associated Press and © – AFP 2019

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