At least 6 people die in protests against Widodo re-election in Indonesia


Indonesian protesters throw stones during a clash with police during a protest following the announcement of the presidential election results in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 22, 2019. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

JAKARTA.- At least six people have died and 200 were injured in clashes on Wednesday between police and people protesting the re-election of Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo.

The governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, provided the latest information to reporters after visiting Tarakan hospital in the center of the capital city, while police sources told EFE that at least 60 people had been arrested.

In clashes that began on Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday morning, protesters who had gathered outside the headquarters of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the Elections Commission (KPU) burned several vehicles after the police tried to disperse them with tear gas.

The violence broke out at the end of a peaceful protest held by supporters of the losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who has said he will challenge the election results in the Constitutional Court, citing electoral fraud.

Some 32,000 officers are guarding the headquarters of the two election bodies with barbed wire and riot vehicles ahead of more potential protests later on Wednesday.

The riots came after the KPU on Tuesday confirmed Joko Widodo’s clear victory in the elections of Apr. 17, in which he secured 55.5 percent of the ballots against 44.5 percent for Prabowo, who has refused to recognize or validate the final result of the polls.

During the campaign, Prabowo courted the Muslim vote and has allied himself with Islamist groups which led the protests. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, where over 87 percent of the population are followers of Islam.

On Monday, Indonesia’s Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) rejected claims by Prabowo’s camp of «structured, systematic and massive election administration violations,» although it did identify certain small-scale irregularities with the management of ballot boxes by KPU officials.

National Police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said that some 1,300 people who had traveled to Jakarta were staying in mosques with the intention of continuing the protests.

Authorities have also warned of possible terror attacks and have arrested dozens of radicals who were allegedly planning attacks during the demonstrations.

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