Published: Sat, May 25, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Six die, protests swell as Indonesia hit by post-election unrest

Six die, protests swell as Indonesia hit by post-election unrest

Police and protesters angry at Indonesia's election result have battled for a second night on the streets of Jakarta, after six people were killed and more than 200 injured in the initial clashes.

Thousands of protesters supporting candidate Prabowo Subianto gathered in the city center following the announcement that incumbent President Joko Widodo won a decisive victory in the general election.

Subianto, an ultra-nationalist former special forces general, has refused to accept the results and declared himself the victor.

The election supervisory agency has said there was no evidence of systematic cheating, and independent observers have said the poll was free and fair.

National Police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal said that police had two people in custody with links to Islamic Reform Movement, also known as Garis, which was founded in Indonesia in 1998, Jakarta Globe reported.

The arrests for at least 257 suspects were made around the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) building, as well as Petamburan and Gambir areas.

The fatalities resulted from bullet wounds and blunt objects, according to the police, who denied the use of live ammunition and accused the rioters of using firearms.

The government has also partly blocked access to social media - including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - in a bid to clamp down on fake news and hoaxes linked to the violence.

"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", Widodo said at a press briefing, flanked by his chief security minister and the head of the military.

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At around 13:20 Jakarta time, the authorities brought in dozens of people, part of the mass, to the Jakarta Metro Police criminal unit from the group who clashed in Petamburan.

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

Protesters chanted "Down with Jokowi" and "Prabowo our President!" on Wednesday night, as police in riot gear responded with teargas and water jets.

Nine officers had been injured, police said, but they did not give details of wounded protesters thought to number in the hundreds.

Police said that the protesters were not residents of the city.

The world's third-largest democracy, Indonesia, held its parliamentary and presidential elections on April 17.

The country's election commission on Tuesday said Jokowi had garnered 55.5 percent of ballots cast in the presidential polls, beating his challenger, Prabowo, for the second time in a row. Police confiscated weapons from the suspects who rode a van to get to Jakarta.

"There are indications that most of the rioters were from outside Jakarta and that they had been paid [to riot]". "I plead to all elements who [are] exercising their aspiration - the police, the armed forces and everyone else - to refrain themselves from acts of violence, or even verbal violence, anything that is provocative", he said.

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