Six dead after election riots in Indonesia’s capital

The violence came after Indonesia’s election commission confirmed Widodo had beaten Subianto for presidency

JAKARTA • At least six people were killed at press time as Indonesia’s capital erupted in violence yesterday when police clashed with protesters opposed to the re-election of President Joko Widodo.

Dozens were arrested and parts of Jakarta were littered with debris and burned-out cars, as the violence triggered security advisories from the US and Australian embassies. Authorities also restricted access to some social media in a bid to stop rumours and fake news from spreading online.

National police chief Tito Karnavian said six people had died, but denied authorities had fired live rounds on the crowd and called for calm. “Some had gunshot wounds, some had blunt force wounds but we still need to clarify this,” he told reporters yesterday.

The violence came after Indonesia’s election commission on Tuesday confirmed Widodo had beaten retired military general Prabowo Subianto for the presidency in an April 17 poll.

Subianto has said he would challenge the results in court — as he did, unsuccessfully, in 2014 — but also warned his claims of widespread cheating could spark street protests.

That was borne out early yesterday as protesters set market stalls and cars on fire, while hurling fireworks and rocks at security personnel clad in riot gear and holding shields, an AFP reporter on the scene said.

“I open myself to anyone to work together to build and 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 yesterday. — AFP