Six die, protests swell as Indonesia hit by post-election unrest, Latest World News - The New Paper

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

This article is more than 12 months old

Demonstrations against Indonesian President Joko Widodo's election victory turn deadly

JAKARTA : Demonstrations over the outcome of last month's presidential election gripped the heart of Indonesia's capital yesterday after an overnight face-off between police and protesters in which Jakarta's Governor said six people were killed.

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

Of the six dead, one died of blunt force trauma, said a Jakarta hospital doctor, while a news website quoting a doctor at another hospital said one man died of bullet wounds.

National police chief Tito Karnavian said security forces were not armed with live bullets.

Crowds swelled in central Jakarta yesterday. Some carried wooden poles and some had toothpaste around their eyes, a practice carried out to eliminate the effects of tear gas.

Protests that began calmly in the sprawling textile market neighbourhood of Tanah Abang on Tuesday turned violent after nightfall, with police firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told TVOne that by the morning six people had been killed and 200 wounded.


Television footage showed smoke billowing from behind dozens of protesters in the streets of Tanah Abang yesterday, with some throwing firecrackers and tearing down public fences.

Mr Joko 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 people on suspicion of provoking riots.

Mr Prabowo, who has refused to concede defeat, called for peaceful protests.

"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.

Most protesters appeared to have come from outside Jakarta and police found envelopes containing money on some people they searched, national police spokesman Muhamad Iqbal told a news conference.

"This is not a spontaneous incident; this is something by design. There are indications that the mobs are paid and bent on causing chaos," he said.

Mr Prabowo has alleged "massive cheating and irregularities" in the election.

A Prabowo campaign official said they plan to contest the result in court today. Mr Prabowo launched a legal challenge after he was defeated in the 2014 election by Mr Joko, which was unsuccessful.

The election supervisory agency dismissed claims of systematic cheating, citing lack of evidence. Independent observers said the poll was free and fair.

But supporters of Mr Prabowo could cause considerable disruption.

Indonesian authorities have said 40,000 police and army personnel are on duty across Jakarta. - REUTERS

Riots: Indonesia slows social media

JAKARTA : The Indonesian government moved to slow down the uploading and downloading of photographs on social media platforms and online messaging apps following yesterday's riots.

"To avoid incitement and false news from spreading to the wider public, we are temporarily limiting access to certain features on social media," Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said at a press conference.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said the blocked features included sharing videos and photos online.

"We know that the modus operandi (of spreading false news) is by posting videos, memes and photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These posts are screen-captured and go viral on messaging apps such as WhatsApp. So, we will all experience a slowdown if we try to download or upload videos and photos."

He said that fake videos and photos could trigger an "emotional response".

He emphasised that the measures would be temporary, but did not say when the limits would be lifted. - JAKARTA POST/ANN