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Protests swell as Indonesia plunges into post-election unrest

Posted in World

Published on May 26, 2019 with No Comments

Demonstrations over the outcome of last month’s presidential election gripped the heart of Indonesia’s capital after face-off between police and protesters in which Jakarta’s governor said six persons were killed.

The riots followed an announcement by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirming that President Joko Widodo had beaten his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, in the April 17 poll.

Crowds swelled in central Jakarta and the police said they expected more protesters to join them before nightfall. Some of those arriving carried wooden poles and some had smeared toothpaste around their eyes, a practice commonly carried out to eliminate the effects of tear gas.

Protests that began calmly in the sprawling textile market neighbourhood of Tanah Abang  turned violent after nightfall, with police firing tear gas to disperse the crowd. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan shared with media that six persons had been killed and 200 wounded.

Television footage showed smoke billowing from behind dozens of protesters in the streets of Tanah Abang with some throwing firecrackers and tearing down public fences. President Widodo said security was now under control and warned of tough action against those instigating riots.”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.

Police have arrested up to 100 persons on suspicion of provoking riots. Widodo’s challenger, Prabowo, who has refused to concede defeat, called for peaceful protests and crowd control. “I urge all sides, the people who are expressing their aspirations, the police, the military and all sides to refrain from physical abuse,” he told a briefing.



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