Six dead after election riots erupt in Indonesia's capital

Clay Curtis
May 25, 2019

Thousands of protesters in support of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, began the rally in the afternoon, demanding an annulment of the victory of incumbent President Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin, claiming election fraud.

Mr Widodo won more than 85 million votes of 154 million cast, but retired general Prabowo has alleged "massive cheating and irregularities" and refused to concede defeat.

The protest in front of the nation's election supervisory agency was initially peaceful on Wednesday, but it erupted into violence after nightfall with Prabowo supporters shooting firecrackers and hurling rocks at police.

They added some protesters are carrying wooden sticks and have toothpaste smeared around their eyes to try to protect them from tear gas.

Authorities blamed the violence on paid "provocateurs", citing money-filled envelopes found on some of almost 70 demonstrators who had been arrested.

RUN Protesters run for cover during a clash with police in Jakarta. More than two dozen vehicles were burned as rioters took over neighborhoods in central Jakarta, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

On Tuesday, the Tanah Abang area had also seen protests turn violent after nightfall.

The city's governor Anies Baswedan was quoted by local media as saying six people had been killed with more than 200 injured.

Widodo, who has called for unity in the wake of the hotly contested election, said he will not tolerate rioting.

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. Only one of Jakarta's MRT stations was open yesterday.

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In recent days, police have arrested three pro-Prabowo activists suspected of treason, the Associated Press reported. However, as the night fell the protesters dispersed peacefully. "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". An Australian Broadcasting Corporation news crew said it was attacked without warning by a mob.

This year's election was the second time Widodo and Prabowo have faced off.

Members of his campaign including his brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, arrived Friday night at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, where a large digital clock was counting down the time left for challenges to the election.

Prabowo also launched an unsuccessful legal challenge after he was defeated by Widodo in the 2014 election.

Election officials and analysts have discounted Subianto's claims.

Chep, a Prabowo supporter, told BenarNews that he and his group had no ties to IS.

From late2016, Islamist groups organised a series of protests against then-Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the first ethnic-Chinese Christian to hold the job, who was subsequently jailed for insulting the Koran.

"We won't give up in the face of this injustice, cheating, lies, and these actions against democracy", said Azis Subekti, the witness.

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

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