Six people have died and at least 200 have been injured in civil unrest in Indonesian capital Jakarta, governor Anies Baswedan says, after the election commission confirmed President Joko Widodo had won last month’s vote.
Supporters of unsuccessful presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto have clashed with security forces since Tuesday, setting fire to a Jakarta police dormitory, attempting to force their way into the offices of the election supervisory agency and burning vehicles.
“As per 9am, there were 200 people hurt being brought to five hospitals,” governor Anies told broadcaster TVOne.
“The number of people dead was six.”
National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said protests turned violent late Tuesday and continued during the night, with more than 20 detained.
On Wednesday, protesters and security forces continued to face off, with police deploying tear gas and rubber bullets.
Indonesia’s Election Commission on Tuesday said Jokowi had won a second term with 55.5 per cent of the vote in the April 17 election.
His opponent, former general Subianto, has refused to accept the result on grounds of fraud and declared himself the victor. His campaign plans to challenge the election in the Constitutional Court.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said police used tear gas and a water cannon against protesters who threw rocks, molotov cocktails and projectiles.
The government had deployed some 50,000 police and soldiers in Jakarta in anticipation of protests, Yuwono said. Many residents have left the city and parts of the downtown are closed to traffic.
In the past week, authorities have arrested three pro-Subianto activists on suspicion of treason, Prasetyo said, including a retired general and former commander of Indonesia’s special forces.
Police allege there was a plot to seize crucial government buildings in Jakarta.
Dozens of terror suspects have been arrested and police have rolled out barbed wire in Indonesia’s capital amid fears of civil unrest over the results of the presidential elections.
Airport guards are stopping some people leaving surrounding islands over suspicions that groups are trying to travel to planned rallies expected to take place on Wednesday.
- Read more on the election here
Some Australians studying and working abroad have been banned by universities and employers from heading to parts of the capital, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a warning to Australians travelling in Indonesia.
Fears of violence come after opponent Prabawo Subianto – who also lost to Jokowi in 2014 – refused to accept defeat and blamed vote-rigging for the president’s victory.
Prabawo, a retired general, has three days to challenge the result at the Constitutional Court, but his camp has indicated it would not do so on the basis it was “pointless”.
He has, however, warned the outcome would trigger “people power” and there are now fears that his comments have incited some Indonesians to plan acts of violence.
A number of schools and cultural sites will be closed as a precaution.
The results of the election were meant to be announced mid-week but were brought forward a day. It’s believed that decision may have been made in order to lessen the chances of unrest on Wednesday.
Australian authorities warned on Tuesday of the possibility of terror attacks and advised travellers to steer clear of protest sites, but kept the threat level the same for most parts of Indonesia including Bali.
“Indonesian authorities have advised there is an increased risk of violence, including possible acts of terrorism, before and after the election result announcement,” the government said.
“Police have been intercepting protesters from regional areas, and preventing their travel to Jakarta.
“Avoid protests, demonstrations and rallies, as these can turn violent without warning (see Safety and security).
“We haven’t changed the level of our advice – ‘Exercise a high degree of caution’ in Indonesia overall, including Bali. Higher levels apply in Poso Regency in Central Sulawesi and Papua Province.”
Jakarta is a city on edge with fears of violent protests and even terror attacks following the official announcement that incumbent Joko Widodo has won the presidential election @9NewsAUS pic.twitter.com/7YQXNJslXx
— Renae Henry (@renaehenry9) May 21, 2019
Last week, chief security minister Wiranto ordered police and military across Indonesia to prevent people from travelling to Jakarta en masse to join rallies, the bulk of which are expected to begin on Wednesday.
In East Java province, more than 1200 Prabowo supporters were stopped from travelling to the capital.
“These people were attempting to travel by bus, car and train to join the rallies on May 22,” said East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera. “We prevented them.”
Local media reported that Indonesia’s biggest Islamic group, Nahdlatul Ulama, had also urged people to avoid rallies, saying its mosques would not accommodate protesters from outside the capital, except for prayers.
National police, who report directly to Widodo, have also held or interrogated at least three leading opposition figures for suspected treason.
Last week, police said they had detained about 30 suspected militants with ties to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), Indonesia’s largest group linked to Islamic State, including some capable of using Wi-Fi networks to trigger blasts.
The Straits Times reported that those nabbed included six men who had returned home after travelling to the Middle East to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On April 17, a whopping 193 million Indonesians were eligible to vote in what was the world’s largest single-day elections.
More than 20,000 seats were being contested – and there was a staggering 245,000 candidates vying for votes, from 16 parties.
The final tally, released early Tuesday, showed that Jokowi and his deputy Ma’ruf Amin – head of the nation’s top Muslim clerical body – secured 85 million votes (55.5 percent).
Prabowo and his right-hand-man Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair won about 68 million votes (44.5 percent).